Hearst Castle. Now that guy knew how to be rich.

During any election campaign, the focus is usually on money: How much should the government take, who should they take it from, and who should they give all that money back to. Every party believes in the redistribution of wealth to some degree, it’s just a matter of how much and who benefits.

It’s pretty well established that liberals want to take more money from successful, wealthier citizens and give it to unsuccessful, less-wealthy citizens. Taken at face value, this sounds like an unfair deal; if you work harder, more is taken from you.

But what determines success? What factors…

A spiritual ass-kicking, courtesy of Ayahuasca

What is ayahuasca?

There’s the thing itself, a brew made out of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, mimosa hostilis root bark and other ingredients. You can look at the chemistry, the way the DMT in the vine is activated by the monoamine oxidase inhibitors in the bark, allowing the DMT to be orally active. There’s its history, practiced by indigenous Amazonian shamans for 5,000+ years. There’s its current reputation, the “magic pill” for the western ailment; depression, lack of purpose, disassociation with the value of money and things over all else. Then there’s the subjective accounts from those who have tried it (no shortage…

A four-character laugh that doesn’t stand for laughter

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

“Haha too late I see”

“I’m just going to stay in tonight haha”

“Haha ok I will too”

“You beat me to it haha”

“I’m so excited for our camping trip haha”

How do you read those? Do you literally say “ha-ha” in your head? Do you picture the person laughing?

Read through some of your recent texts. Is that four-character laugh ever used to indicate humour? Now read them out loud. Does a laugh ever belong in its place?

After looking through my own messages, I found the answer is almost always no.

So if the universal text equivalent…

An essential battle that’s becoming uglier every day

Image courtesy of romsrini (flickr.com/photos/romsrini/)

I grew up about as liberal as any kid can. Liberalism represented all that was bright and hopeful about the world: everyone is born the same, every one helps each other, big corporations are bad, globalization is the future, Obama good, Romney evil. Out with old guard and in with the new. The inevitable march of progress.

I lived in that cozy little liberal bubble, not paying much attention to news or politics, but always believing that the left had it right and the right had it wrong. Over the last few months, that’s all changed.

For starters, paying thousands…

And the place of spirituality

Awhile ago, a friend sent me the following video:

It pissed me off, and then it made me think. What are friends for, after all?

The small print

I should stop here, and preface this by saying that I’m very much a scientifically-inclined individual.

I don’t believe in reincarnation or karmic law. I don’t believe in miracles, and I don’t believe in the deities of any religion.

I believe we’re the chance result of star particles forming under gravity and pressure billions of years ago in a vast universe, amino acids combining in a murky pool, and hundreds of millions of years…

Facing problems as a web developer, alone

A year ago, I left the relative comfort of a salary job to pursue a career as a freelance web developer.

Leaving the “who’s” and “why’s” for another time, the reality of my situation shifted drastically. My previous job, working in marketing at a software company, presented a pool of hundreds of mentors that could help solve the many technical problems I would run into. Now, that number was zero.

As a developer, I was quite suddenly alone.

I struggled at first. The web is not an agreement among professionals. It’s a wild frontier of trends, opinions and ideas that…

Bryce Kirk

Freelance Designer / Developer in Calgary, Alberta

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