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Michael Gat
Venice Beach, CA
Project Manager, Photographer, Outdoorsman, Observer of the World
Interests: Looking for the multiple shades of grey in between dogmatic black and white. it makes no difference whether you're talking project management, how to run a river, or even politics, there are always people trying to tell you that there's only one way to do it, which happens to be their way. usually, in between all those, there's a way that really is the best.
Recent Activity
Finishing up a really, really hot week here in LA. The worst of it is supposed to break tonight, so hopefully cool enough for a ride on the coast tomorrow. First thing in the morning, it's time for giving blood. Between the heat, the fires up north and the holiday weekend, they're low and my B- is in demand. This piece really resonated closely with me: "Upon arriving, I rented a house and happily went out in search of "my people." I went to parks, bookstores, bars, on dates. I even tried golfing. It wasn't that I didn't meet people.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
A fairly busy week so far, with some melancholy feelings about recent events still creeping in. Emiko came home for the last time today. A certificate, a little pawprint in plaster and a small box of furry feline memories. At the same time, Chaos seems to be settling in well as an only cat. He's somewhere around 14-15 years old and I think he's finally hit the "get off my lawn" phase of life, at least as far as other cats go. He seems to like hanging out with me and whining for attention. Apologies but my twitter was apparently... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
We've become so self-absorbed, so willing to dismiss everybody and everything else around us, that my natural tendency to move things along quickly and efficiently rather than making a scene and an obstacle of myself is now seen as unusually courteous. It was actually kind of comforting knowing that most people were nicer than me. Now, I'm the nice guy. Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
Occasionally it's necessary to restore one's connections with reality, and distance oneself from the endless man-made chatter of the cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, TV, street festivals with inescapably loud music of dubious merit and crowded restaurants. As Doug Peacock beautifully put it: "Don't just bang down the trail thinking about your girlfriend or your stock portfolio. Go like another animal. All of a sudden you're part of an ancient system again: You stop, listen more often, scent the wind. And after four or five days, something happens. You're part of the original landscape, a far older, more faded world. "If you're... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
Emiko died peacefully yesterday morning after a long illness. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
Why in the world would anybody in this country, or really anywhere else, care about an outdated, useless, irrelevant institution. At least the people in this country who become famous for being famous, generally must do something outrageous and entertaining to get there in the first place. It may not be particularly valuable to the human race, but it's no less valuable than the contribution of kings, queens and princes. And at least we can laugh at Kardashians. Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
We were always here. Those of us who don't believe in the invisible man in the sky. Those of us who are gay. Those of us who are unmarried. Those of us who don't want kids. Despite everything you and people like you have done to try to eradicate us, we have always been here and always will be. Nothing real has changed. Only your illusions. Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
just a few days later, they are already on the way back to me.
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2013 on I ❤ my Chacos at Thoughts In Grey
There are things I find necessary and things I find useful, but few things that are worthy of much emotional attachment. Most of the things I love, are loved for their utility, design and engineering. I love them because they are the perfect well-made tool for the job, standouts in a world full of imperfect tools, badly designed, horribly manufactured, irrepairable and largely unsupported by their makers. Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
My dad used to refer to the U.S. as "a services economy with no service." This is mostly true. Not only is there little to no service available for most products, many of them are designed so that they can't possibly be serviced. My Chacos are not made that way. Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
And just to be clear. Feel free to believe what you want to believe and act how you want to act. I surely have plenty of irrational beliefs and make plenty of mistakes of my own. That's a reality that's known as "life." I draw the line of "zealotry" at the point where you expect to organize society around your particular irrational beliefs, and want to force me to believe them or at least act as if I do.
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2013 on Religious Zealots, Fuck Off! at Thoughts In Grey
I generally don't use this language, but In light of numerous events in the past 24 hours, let me say for the record: Dear Religious Zealots: Fuck You! All of you. Yes, fundamentalists Christians who think you can legislate me to a salvation I don't want or need, that obviously means you. But to my Hassidic "cousins" in Jerusalem and elsewhere who think women should move to the back of the bus; the ones who believe that they and their institutions should be perpetually supported by others (primarily the Israeli taxpayer) while contributing nothing, because working would force their men... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
I rarely come across a quote that so precisely sums up my thoughts about a topic, in this case, the amazing nature of the universe around us and the existence or need for an all-powerful deity, spirit, whatever you may call it, to explain or clarify things. In her book Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless , which I don't recommend (see below), blogger Greta Christina notes that: The physical world is anything but mundane. The physical world is black holes at the center of every spiral galaxy. It is billions of galaxies... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
The latest meme masquerading as science I hate stuff like this. Not because it isn't true (it is), or even that it couldn't possibly be education (which it might). I hate it because the opportunity is squandered by somebody trying to make something that's fairly routine seem incredibly special and miraculous. Already, social media is full of comments from people claiming that something so "miraculous" must somehow prove the existence of their particular god. It doesn't. Random, Non-terminating, non-repeating decimals are actually quite common in nature. Pi is one. So is the square root of 2, and in fact the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
We have become a nation that's afraid of its own shadows, who would prefer to shut down and hide in front of our TVs with beer and junk food rather than go out every day and learn to stare down the risks that everybody else in the world takes for granted. Unlike our British allies in London, we won't even consider going out if anybody even suspects a terrorist of being somewhere in the same metro area. Unlike the Israelis, going about our business while there's a nutcase possibly on the loose seems inconceivable, even if he's across a river miles away from us. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
The ubiquitous earthquake or first aid kit is useless if you don't know what to do with it, and the moments after an emergency is not the time to start learning. Take a class and think ahead. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
For some people, the only possible reaction seemed to be to talk about how it made them feel. To all these people, I have a simple message: It's not about you! Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
Really, not just thinner. Also fitter, happier and a whole bunch of other things that go along with it. But I'll start where it started, almost a year ago when on one late Sunday night I noticed what seemed to be a rather annoying pimple or ingrown hair on the inside of my thigh, just below the groin. By the next morning it had grown into something larger and more bothersome, especially given the location. That afternoon I started feeling a bit sick and feverish, though I didn't really connect the two facts. Tuesday morning it was sufficiently inflamed that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
We have, in Los Angeles, perfected the art of gerrymandering. Not only we do we define districts based on the needs of the political insiders, but we do the same with the elections themselves. Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2013 at Thoughts In Grey
With a bit of experimentation after some further maintenance, I have figured out how to do it using a square-ish funnel and a folded sheet of aluminum foil to shape in position as a splash guard, directing the oil to where it needs to go. Not perfect at all, but only a few small drips needed to be cleaned up.
"Showing me what my friends like" has in fact become nothing more than a thinly-veiled excuse for shoving irrelevant and annoying advertising in my face, regardless of my stated preferences and interests, using the excuse that somewhere, somehow, somebody I vaguely know from some period in my past has decided to "like" this thing. The things that the people I really intereact with "like" most, and the things I've expressed interest in, and continue to show interest in when I have the opportunity have fallen by the wayside. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2012 at Thoughts In Grey
Americans used to know how to fix and do things themselves. Compared to Europeans and others around the world, that instinct for tinkering set us apart and was substantially responsible for the fact that we've been such an innovative country in so many fields. These days -- to judge by the state of my inbox and my facebook feed -- most people don't have sufficient "fixit" skills to even identify a good mechanic on their own, let alone do the actual job themselves. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2012 at Thoughts In Grey
Like most introverts, I am "geared to inspect"1 while improv favors the extroverted "geared to respond" personality. I work best when allowed to question freely and think through problems, working from a strong knowledge of the facts while questioning in order to develop alternatives and options. It's what I do well and it's what makes me tick. When pressed into an improv-style "don't deny the reality, just add something to it!" situation, I am often at a loss for what to do. Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2012 at Thoughts In Grey
Parsing through Facebook, Twitter and other similar mediums to try to figure you out is fraught with difficulty. It is said that well over 80% of communcation is non-verbal. Even in written communications, context and some knowledge of the person doing the communicating is key to figuring out what the person is talking about. Unfortuantely, most parsers have little more to go on than the actual words, and as a result they make pretty bad and often funny mistakes. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2012 at Thoughts In Grey
"Hey... this is Mitch with Newbridge Metals, good afternoon, we talked a while back, how's life been treating you?" "I'm fine and it's not afternoon, you might perhaps want to have a clue where you're calling before the autodialer connects you." Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2012 at Thoughts In Grey