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Two Viruses, Two Cures

"Now the rainman gave me two cures. Then he said, 'Jump right in.'" - Bob Dylan

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

I got a stomach virus this week from some twice-thawed salmon. (Thank you, ladies. I've learned my lesson; never eat anything that you thawed twice.) I'll spare you the details, but tell you a joke.

A guy went to see a doctor, who inquired, "What's wrong?" Patient: "I have a bowel movement every morning at 7:00." Doctor: What's wrong with that?" Patient: "I don't get out of bed until 7:30."

Cultured products, yogurt and miso, have gone a long way to restoring the proper bacterial balance in my digestive system, but it's been a strange few days.

The strangest part, aside from the late night racing to the bathroom, has been contemplating my own mortality. I've been physically weak and psychologically wan.

They say that hypothermia is a pleasant way to expire; just lie down in the snow and drift off, first to sleep and then all the way. Dehydration, at least if you can keep your electroytes in balance, seemed pretty smooth to me, everything, or at least me in the midst of everything, fading away. I'm still too young for that, but I could imagine an older, frailer me succumbing, dios prohiba.

I told my daughter some years ago, "When you are young, death seems really horrible, but the older I get the more it seems like a reasonable conclusion." My 90 year old uncle suffered two near fatal heart attacks, brought back from each by heroic medical interventions. After the second he complained to his family, "Why don't you let me go?" I'm still not in any rush, but I'm beginning to understand his point of view.

I am, however, celebrating another death.

My email accounts ending with "@sanmiguelevents.com" and "@lokkal.com" are hosted by a company called Bizland. Suddenly last Monday I could not access them. When I called Bizland the low-level tech assistant offered to send me new passwords. I explained that all of my three Bizland accounts were affected. He went away and came back and we visited sites where I learned that I had been blacklisted because of a virus that was using my computer to send out emails.

I contacted my programmer in the Canary Islands who told me that I had to wipe the machine clean and upload a different operating system; "You must be using Windows, because Windows is the only operating system that has such vulnerabilities." Upload a different operating system? Who does he think I am, a computer programmer?

I contacted my computer programmer in Los Frailes who told me to come over sometime when I had four or five hours and that he would do the job. I brought my sick machine and my uninfected, old Macintosh and visited for a lovely afternoon with him and his very interesting family. Independently, we both got a lot of other work done while my PC was copying files to his hard drive, then getting wiped clean, then having a new operating system installed, then having my old files uploaded from his hard drive.

The death that I am celebrating is my realtionship with Windows. Techies often hate Windows because Windows allows its administrators to update and generally screw around with your computer. Unfortunately, this also allows enterprising hackers to screw around with your computer, uploading their malware programs. Witness my email virus. My new operating system, Ubuntu, requires me to approve of every program that is uploaded to my machine. There is no back door. Ubuntu is built by a community of programmers. "Ubuntu" is an African concept that means, "I am what I am because of who we all are."

Working online as much as I do I've become a lot more techie than I ever wanted to be. In this process I've moved away from interfaces that "make it easy" for you (like Windows) to ones which require a little more learning, but are much more flexible, robust and which give you more control.

Yesterday in Los Frailes I spoke with my programmer's father (whom, it turns out, I had met once before at a mutual friend's exhibition; small town). Yesterday he spoke about the biblical Tower of Babel story; "Come let us make bricks..." He sees this as one pole of a basic dichotomy of life. On the Babel side of the dichotomy we are encouraged to rely on the system, get in line, get with the program, mindlessly conform with the social interface, the politics of socialistic big government and Big Brother. On the other side is private initiative, personal freedom, a direct relationship with experience, and an economy that rewards these, that is, capitalism.

I am bully on the free market, but I shared a doubt with him. "Don't the resources of the country belong to the people?" His non-verbatim response: "Look, we're from Venezuela. Venezuela has a good share of most of the oil on the planet. Twenty years ago the oil was all privately managed and Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world. Then Chavez nationalized the oil and Venezuela became what it is today. The system is too big and complex to be managed by any governing elite. 'Government' originally meant to control yourself [like a governor on a machine]. Nothing can substitute for that original, spiritual connection with the community of life."

We remember that Apple commercial during the 1984 Superbowl; "Why 1984 will not be like '1984'." Back then they were presenting Macintosh. Here, first in San Miguel and Queretaro and then around the world, my team is about to present Lokkal in its full glory. Lokkal is a searchable digital town square that fosters independence and community.

When you organize the internet around a search algorithm, you get Google.
When you organize the internet around friends and family, you get Facebook.
When you organize the internet around neighborhoods and communities, you get better neighborhoods and communities, you get Lokkal.

With 2020 vision (and healthy intestinal flora) it's all beginning to make sense.


Dr David is looking for authors to contribute to San Miguel Sunday. He is also looking for people who want to add more meaning to their lives. See his new website below.

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events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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