Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reasons For My Thoughts On Torture

If you haven't done so already, read this post. Then watch this [depressing] video:

Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice, you belong in jail for your crimes.

Here is a list of memos that specifically authorizes torture.

A Day In The Life (Of A Sculpture)

Today, the last day of my weekend, I met up with two of my fabulous coworkers + 1 at the 5 Spot on Queen Anne. After enjoying a delicious, albeit skimpy, breakfast we took the Metro 2 bus down to 1st and Broad street. From there we proceeded west on Broad street to our point of destination: the Olympic Sculpture Park. Here is a photo journal of that exploration:

Se7en and Se7en...No, Not The Drink

I wanted to include the movie cover in my post about Se7en the movie, so I googled "se7en". Interestingly enough, it directed me to several pictures of a very attractive Korean pop/R&B singer named "Se7en".

Born Choi Wong-Dook on November 9, 1984. Coincidentally, he was in a commercial for Sprite that was also directed by David Fincher.

His genre's listed include K-pop and J-pop. They, apparently, stand for Korean pop and Japanese pop respectively. I think we should call American pop A-pop. I'm making a formal declaration right now: from here on out I will be referring to pop as A-pop.

Se7en : A Tale Of Right In A World So Wrong

One of my favorite movies is Se7en (1995), starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman; directed by David Fincher. It's a very dark and gritty film, and would be described best as a psychological thriller. In it, a killer is on the loose and is executing elaborate deaths that coincide with the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. There is so much more to this movie than meets the eye, and it is best described in a semi-monologue near the end of the film.

David Mills: Wait, I thought all you did was kill innocent people.
John Doe: Innocent? Is that supposed to be funny? An obese man... a disgusting man who could barely stand up; a man who if you saw him on the street, you'd point him out to your friends so that they could join you in mocking him; a man, who if you saw him while you were eating, you wouldn't be able to finish your meal. After him, I picked the lawyer and I know you both must have been secretly thanking me for that one. This is a man who dedicated his life to making money by lying with every breath that he could muster to keeping murderers and rapists on the streets!
David Mills: Murderers?
John Doe: A woman...
David Mills: Murderers, John, like yourself?
John Doe: [interrupts] A woman... so ugly on the inside she couldn't bear to go on living if she couldn't be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer, a drug dealing pederast, actually! And let's not forget the disease-spreading whore! Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever.
Brad Pitt's character strongly disagrees with this sentiment, and continues to argue with Doe. However, viewers will notice that Morgan Freeman's character remains quiet, contemplative. When I saw that I knew that he agreed with what Doe had done. Does that make it right? No. But at the same time, there is a passive concession to accepting Doe's actions.

It Took Me A While To Get Into This

Watch it all the way through. It's f**king hilarious.

Thanks Sullivan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Every Time You Swipe Your Card

People may or may not know, but every time someone uses their debit/credit card for a financial transaction, that (business) is charged a fee by the card provider. American Express, Visa Business, and Discover charge the most in fees. This is why many places do not take them as a form of payment. If you go here you can see how much you are "charging" in fees for various items, from a pack of gum to a plasma television.

I Will Never Become A Vegetarian

And this is why.

Sigourney Weaver Vs. Susan Sarandon

*I removed the two photos from this post due to their constant googling. (06/21/09)*

There are some out there who are adamant that Sigourney Weaver and Susan Sarandon are the same person.

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver, on October 8, 1949, in New York City.
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin, on October 4, 1946, in New York City.
I will attempt to remain impartial throughout. Given those two bits of information, it seems rather suspicious that people would confuse the two actresses. Fact: they were both born Susan. Fact: they were both born in New York City. Fact: they were both born in October. Fact: they both have careers in acting. The evidence is strong here, but I would have to concede that these two actresses are not, in fact, the same person.

Sigourney Weaver is known for her role as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the movies Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien: Resurrection. Susan Sarandon could never be as badass as Sigourney Weaver in this role. Sarandon would try to reason with the aliens, and cry for them.

Susan Sarandon is know for her roles in sentimental movies, with the exception of Thelma & Louise (1991). Okay, I've lost my impartiality. Given the choice between the two actresses, I choose Sigourney Weaver as my favorite. I loved the Alien movies. Well, Alien and Aliens. The third and fourth movies were crap. She was also in the Ghostbuster movies. I can only think of one movie that I've seen Susan Sarandon in, and it is not Thelma & Louise. It's "The Client", based on John Grisham's novel of the same name.

So, we can conclude that Sigourney Weaver and Susan Sarandon are not the same person. Furthermore, if given the choice of which is the better actress, the choice is quite obviously Sigourney Weaver. You're welcome.

Senate Republicans Bartering For A "Get Out Of Jail Free" Card

I find it deplorable, and meta-political, that Senate republicans have been seeking to block President Obama's Attorney General nominee, Eric H. Holder, Jr.; they want assurances that the Justice Department will not pursue prosecutions of Bush administration officials for crimes they did commit. I understand that we need to focus our energies on the current crises: the failing economy, the war in Iraq, and our relations with Iran. However, these Republicans clearly want to set a precedent that crimes committed by those in power are above the law, and will face no consequences whatsoever. I know people will tell me to get over it, that it has happened before and it will happen again and again; that doesn't make it 'okay'. If you're not outraged by this political bullshit, then you're clearly not paying attention.

Bush administration policies and practices carry zero accountability.

Joe Biden Would Be So Much Cooler If This Were True

Thanks Onion.

A Career In Art Is Not For Me

Here are some charcoal drawings I did for a summer art class in 2004. This is me, as I consider it, at my best. Any comments?

I had a "negative" copy of the second drawing, but after a rigorous search of my computer, I was unable to find it. I think it looks rather nice.

How Would You Rank The Beatles Catalog?

Well, someone has done it for you. Check it out here.

The Results Are In!

We now have a definition for "Saddlebacking".* And it's the one I wanted to win, too!

*If you're easily offended, don't follow the link.

Why Don't I Want To Work For The CIA?

Let me give you a little timeline of my possible career interests:
  1. Doctor
  2. FBI Agent
  3. Lawyer
  4. CIA Analyst
  5. Writer
  6. Journalist
Numbers 1 - 4 were when I was young and naive about the world. Numbers 5 - 6 are post-college education. I could ramble on and on about the stupidity of the CIA, but I won't. Instead, you should read "Legacy of Ashes : The History of the CIA" by Tim Weiner; that will give you greater insight into what I mean.

Also, there's this recent revelation.

Canada On A Thursday Night

A story: It was a cold night on January 14, 2005. Three young college students decided on going out for dinner. Where would they go? What food was their bellies aching for? Alas, they wanted Chinese food (which was actually American Chinese food). But that is neither here nor there. Jon knew a supposedly good restaurant: Moon Temple on 45th in Wallingford.

They traveled by car; it was a 1986 Toyota Tercel hatchback. Parking was easy to find, and they sat down to eat. The food was satisfying. Time came to pay. "I'll get this one. You guys just buy the drinks next time." "But we're not old enough to drink just yet." "We're old enough to drink in Canada." Silence ensues. A flurry of ponderous thoughts emerge from within all three. "Should...should we?" It's agreed; we three get back in the car, drive to our places of residence to obtain our passports, and head north through the harsh cold to beautiful British Columbia.

The time is near midnight by the time we arrive at the border. We suffer the wrath of border patrol questioning and subsequent lecturing. We are in! We continue north-northwest to downtown Vancouver. We find parking. One of us propositions a prostitute for a photograph and is vehemently denied. We find an Irish pub. (See photo). We toast to our first drink in a bar. We've accomplished what we set out to do. "Last call!" Oh no. Time to find another bar. No luck. We walk up and down the deserted streets holding out for an open bar. One of us pees in a back alley. We find a restaurant that is open until 4am. Jackpot!

We order a few rounds. The other two go make out, briefly, on the way to the bathroom. We sober up. We make it back to the car, shivering cold. We have high hopes that we'll make it back in time for classes and work. A long, tiresome drive is what we accept as reality. Driving, fell asleep a few times. Not good at all. We survive. We return to our living quarters. We sleep for the rest of the day, foregoing any school and/or work responsibilities. Not bad for a Thursday night.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Tribute To Those Persecuted

In March of 2006 two of my friends and I traveled to Amsterdam for spring break. It was not your typical spring break, in that it was very cold and dreary. It was to be expected though. We didn't travel there to be on a girls gone wild video (and I'm not sure how that would have worked, being that only one of us was a girl), but rather, to explore another part of the world.

We saw and did many things during our week stay, and one of the more intimate moments for me was when we visited the Homomonument.
The Homomonument was officially unveiled on Saturday 5 September 1987 on the Westermarkt in the historic heart of Amsterdam.
The monument is located but a mere block away from the Anne Frank House, which I was surprised to find out had a gift shop and cafe. [That was meant to be a joke, but it's difficult to present it as such when the joke relies on vocal intonation]. It was an emotional day for me, although I held it in quite well. We visited a house that was used to hide people [Jews] from persecution and almost certain death. Then we visited a monument dedicated to the persecution and deaths of another group of people: homosexuals. It was a day that was completely enlightening, but also terribly depressing, especially for me; I am a 'member' of the latter group. The monument's plague reads as follows:
Commemorates All Women And Men Ever Oppressed And
Persecuted Because Of Their Homosexuality.
Supports The International Lesbian And Gay Movement In Their
Struggle Against Contemt, Discrimination And Oppression.
Demonstrates That We Are Not Alone.
Calls For Permanent Vigilance.

Past, Present And Future Are Represented By The
3 Triangles On This Square, Designed By Karin Daan, 1987.
I can only keep hoping that this monument becomes ancient history. And this brings tears (of joy) to my eyes:
Each year on the 4th of May, the Netherlands' National Remembrance Day, people from all walks of life gather at the Homomonument to commemorate the gay victims of war. Representatives from political parties, social organisations, the military, the police, dignitaries and ordinary citizens all come to observe the traditional two minutes of silence at 8 p.m. and to listen to the speakers.

The Dutch flag flies at half-mast and the "Wilhemus" (the Dutch national anthem) is sung. This observance, which was once forbidden and had to be fought for, is now an official ceremony that no longer raises an eyebrow.

Palahniuk, Please Don't Disappoint Again

Cult novelist Chuck Palahniuk has been working hard, maybe too hard, and he has a new book coming out on May 5th: "Pygmy".

Here is what DoubleDay (Random House) has to say about it:
The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park—Chuck Palahniuk’s finest novel since the generation-defining Fight Club.

“Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc.”

Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.

It’s a comedy. And a romance.
I hope this is at least something enjoyable to read. In a conversation with my manager, some time ago, he casually asked me how I liked Palahniuk's last book...and the one before that...and the one before that...and so on and so forth. My answer's were all similar, if not the same: "It was all right". I guess I am one of those people who can't help but read any and all books published by a particular author, even if they are pure dribble. Chuck Palahniuk is that guy (for me). I've been expecting the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) for a week now (and counting). I will post a review as soon as I, 1.) get my hands on the ARC, and 2.) read it.

I'm Ashamed That I Voted for Barack Obama

That's absolutely false. I did vote for Barack Obama, and I'm not ashamed of it. However, I am keeping in mind that he is a politician, and everything that he does is based in politics. That is to say that I'm not a follower of the seeming cult-like affinity for President Obama. The man is fallible, and will make mistakes.

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish directed me to an article by Michael Novak over at NRO that shuns President Obama's decisions in his first week.
On January 20, President Obama called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He also declared his intention to give multiple rights and privileges to homosexual couples.

On January 22, he issued an order announcing his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year, but admits he has not figured out how to do that. President Bush had expressed a similar wish, but could find no nations willing to take responsibility for the detainees.

On January 23, President Obama issued an order that authorizes tax dollars for abortions abroad.
I just want to make it very clear that Michael Novak does not speak for me when he says:
These decisions humiliated those who voted for President Obama because they had been assured, and assured others, that the new president would take seriously the culture of life.
I feel nothing but pride in these decisions, and Novak needs to change the way he words things. President Obama rescinded the Mexico City policy to allow for foreign aid to go to those organizations who need it, regardless of whether or not they perform abortions for women. Novak strongly implies that our aid is going to serve only one function: abort as many fetuses as possible. It doesn't go for educational programs about safe sex, or for better quality medical services. No, it only goes to abort fetuses.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hot Is So Hot Right Now

It's official: hot liquids can ease the symptoms of a cold or flu.

Young And Drunk And Storytelling

Some of the things I like (not really) about this video:
  1. I speak with a very gay lisp.
  2. There is an awkward moment at 1:17.
  3. I'm fatter than holy hell.
The best line comes near the very end: "Probably because you don't have a..." Enjoy!

The Best Things Overheard Today

"Guybrarian...I don't quite get what that means"
"It means you're a male librarian"
"Or somebody with a library of men"

"I like sound...but songs"

"I liked Susan Sarandon in Ghostbusters...the first one"*

*To fully appreciate this joke, read this.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Work and Boredom

Friedrich Nietzsche published a much underrated book in 1887 entitled "la gaya scienza", or "The Gay Science". Note: he meant "gay" as in "happy", not "homosexual". It contains, among other things, the story of the 'madman' who declares that "God is dead". That's another post all its own, and so I wanted to present a passage that touches on the issue of 'work and boredom'.
Looking for work in order to be paid: in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well. But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards, if the work itself is not the reward of rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, but so do even those men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, traveling, or in love affairs and adventures. All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult work if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb. They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable "windless calm" of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them. Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure. Perhaps Asians are distinguished above Europeans by a capacity for longer, deeper calm; even their opiates have a slow effect and require patience, as opposed to the disgusting suddenness of the European poison, alcohol.
It's something to think about. Although, I think the last sentence could be omitted.

Okay, So Here Are My Thoughts Regarding Sam Adams

Let me bring you up to speed, if you are not already. The new mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, is caught in the spotlight right now because he [finally] admitted to having a sexual relationship with a former intern. When the two were introduced in 2005, the intern, Beau Breedlove, was 17 years old. So, the controversy begins with, "well, did they have a sexual relationship while Breedlove was under the age of consent?" It's been cleared by both parties that they only kissed on two occasions when he was 17, and did not engage in sexual activity until (2 weeks) after he turned 18 years of age. The other controversy contained within this is that Adams lied, repeatedly, about the relationship between the two of them. He finally admitted to it, and issued a formal apology.

Now, people are either overwhelmingly supporting him or overwhelmingly calling for him to resign as mayor. Here is what I think he should do: he should not resign. Why do I think that?

Well, there are several elements to consider here. Let's look at the facts.
Did Sam Adams lie to the public about a personal matter? Yes.
Did he engage in sexual relations with a legal adult (according to Oregon law)? Yes.
I chose my words carefully, and as you can see, there is, in essence, no wrongdoing that is relevant to Adams' capacity to serve as Portland's mayor. He lied about a very personal issue. His personal life should not give much weight, if any, to his abilities as mayor. He had sex with (in my opinion, a very hot) 18 year old. There is no legal wrongdoing. Yes, he was somewhat playing with proverbial fire in having sex with someone so young; we're only human.

Furthermore, there is a gay element to all of this. Now I'm not a psychologist, and I'm only speaking from personal experience and insight, but young gay men tend to seek older men. Being young and gay is a very difficult thing to live through no matter where you are, and so they tend to seek out people who can relate and provide security. One of the major reasons why guys take so long to "come out" is due to the lack of a secure network of friends (presumably gay). No one is going to feel empowered to take the plunge into openness if they have no one to fall back on for support; that is to say, if receptions turn sour.

So perhaps that is the case with Breedlove. [Possibly] he found a security (among other things) in Adams and he acted on it. Clearly they were both responsible in their decisions, and everything turned out all right. That is until this whole matter came to the forefront during the mayoral campaign in Portland.

In conclusion, I believe that Adams' personal life is his own, so given that he lied about it, I can forgive him. If he led me to believe that he would lie about public policy issues, I would call on him to resign. Until such a time comes, mayor the hell out of Portland Sam.

The Best Thing Overheard In Eric's Car Last Night

"I will never watch 'Aliens'...I don't even like Susan Sarandon!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Issues With Torture

I recently got into a heated argument with a close relative of mine regarding the Bush administration's authorization and utilization of torture on suspected combatants. I use the term "utilization" loosely, because I believe that torture does not produce accurate or valuable information. I can only imagine that I, myself, would start telling people anything they wanted to hear if they were torturing me.

My conversation went (as I recall) somewhat like this:
"...the authorization of the use of torture."
"Oh really?"
"Yes, really. It's disgusting and doesn't do anything"
"Oh it does plenty. It says 'don't fuck with me' ".
Of course, my jaw dropped from having heard my relative just exclaim that. Also, this is a person who has never had anything but unwavering support for the conservative movement and the Bush administration.

This is all merely leading me to my position on torture: it's an absolute sign of how disgusting human beings can be. I understand that there are people who are probably deserving of torture or even immediate death, given certain atrocities that they committed. But we have to look at it from a different angle.

First of all, who has the 'right' to torture anyone? Secondly, who can bring themselves to inflict horrible pain and trauma on another human being? I think people fail to realize that these are still, despite what they may or may not have done, human beings. At the same time, our government [was] saying it was wrong and illegal to harm Americans, and yet, our government [was] committing atrocities of equal proportion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caroline Kennedy Is Out

I've been wondering what has come about regarding the Senate seat vacated by (now) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The last bit of news, up until now, was that Caroline Kennedy was pushing for the appointment. Then the matter dropped off the political radar, and nothing more was said about it. I just read here that she has officially dropped out of the "race". The article mentioned that it was most likely due to her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy's, ailing health. He suffered a seizure at the inaugural luncheon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Whale Of A Cow

Such is the subtitle of the new kid's book, "Shamoo".

This fantastic story tells the tale of a cow who goes exploring one day and decides that the ocean is a good a place as any to start. Shamoo, the cow, comes in contact with a giant whale, and the two hit it off from the start. I would tell you more, but I don't want to ruin the story for all you potential readers out there.

My partner in crime, Erin, and I have pondered long and hard about creating our own kid's book based on similar circumstances. We're going to call it "Shampoo", and it will be about the adventures of a bottle of Pert Plus and one's poo. Random House is already offering us an advance on the book!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Two Ravens In The Old Oak Tree..."

Bloc Party wrote the most beautiful fucking song I've ever heard. This song literally sucks the tears out of me. I cannot listen to it and not cry. Here is a live studio performance. Enjoy.

Found On My "Desk" This Morning

I found this next to my work station this morning. It's a mail-on order form for Dungeons & Dragons "Poker Dragons" from the Hamilton Collection.

The left block of text reads: "YES! Please accept my subscription for the Poker Dragons Hold 'Em or Fold 'Em Collection. I will receive each piece, beginning with "Holdin' Harry," for the issue price of $19.95 each. I need send no money now. I will be billed with shipment."

Then some joker (presumably a coworker of mine) filled out the form with all my information, and even made a little note for Mr. Hamilton.

"Dear Mr. Hamilton, I can't wait for my SWEET Poker dragons! xoxo, [signed] Jon."

I have one thing to say to this prankster: identity theft is not funny. It affects millions of people every year. I am ashamed of you for forging my signature and, thereby which, stealing my identity. How dare you!*

*I actually found it to be f**king hilarious.

A New Book By Chad Kultgen

So, sometime during the summer of '07 I purchased a copy of "The Average American Male" by Chad Kultgen. The prose was simple and the subject matter dead-on accurate. The story is about...well, it's about the average American male. Why would I read this (seeming) crap? Well, that would require me to give an account of how I feel towards the average American make, which is namely this:

My view of the average American male is that he never grows beyond a frat boy mentality; he wears backwards baseball hats and loves football; he frequents (or at least talks endlessly about) strip clubs and how many "chicks" he's fucked (or what have you).

Now, because I loathe and detest that type of individual, I thought it would be interesting to read a book where I absolutely have no sympathy for the character. It was, and I didn't.

Now, I have in my possession Kultgen's latest book (to be published March 3rd) titled "The Lie". I would imagine that the subject matter is similar, yet more exploratory. We shall see.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Save Broadway!

The best line comes from the character from "Avenue Q":

"I need to get to my new job. I give massages behind a Thai place in the lower east side...with my mouth".

Remember This?

Read my old post here. Then watch this video:


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Phenomenological Argument On The Nature Of The Individual

I [apparently] wrote this October 13, 2006:
I have a theory, among others, about the nature of human kindness.

Most of my theories revolve around the principle of negation. That is to say, we find truth, or what is right, through the recognition and interpretation of the transcendence of our social sensibility.

I posit my argument on the platform of destructed and re-constructed natures of the objective individuals (or society as a whole).

Observe now, what I observe; 1) I drive in my car, a person wants to change lanes, I let them get over, they wave in the manner of gratitude. 2) I hold the door open for someone, and they say thank you in the manner of gratitude.

Those two empirical points delimit the parameters of the theory; human kindness used to be innate, but now, that kindness has died [in a figurative sense]. What is to blame for this murder of virtue? Simply put, it is our progressive society.

What once used to be a whole is now a split of a split of a split. society is not a whole; it is a summation of "ones", or "individuals". We no longer began to care for anyone but ourselves. Our selfishness took over, and we were doomed to be that way for our entire lives.

However, with death comes life. The virtue of human kindness may have died, but that doesn't mean a new sort of virtue wasn't born in its place. I base this conclusion on the fact that people thank us for doing good things. The person waved to me for letting them change lanes; the person thanked me for holding the door open for them. if human kindness was vested in us, and eternal, then these common salutations would no longer be necessary. Every act would be for the sake of kindness. we would not take anything for granted, because we know that we would return the favor in kind.

However, once again, we observe, through negation, that human kindness is dead, and has to be reborn within the individual. It is the individual's sole responsibility for this rebirth.

Accordingly, the very fact that we must show thanks for peoples' actions indicates that kindness is dead, and we are all doing our part to see it live and thrive again, if not for the very first time.

A New Dentist

It's been many years since I've seen the dentist for a checkup and cleaning, mostly because the dentist I had since birth is down in Kent, and I'm not about to spend two hours bussing and walking down there. But, I never know what dentist to use; so, luckily my sister recommended her dentist to me. Dr. Patricia Shigihara.

I don't know if I've been away for too long, or if my previous dentist was just behind on the times (and money), but I was astounded at how enjoyable it was to go see the dentist. First of all, the chair was much more comfortable and soft; it was like lying on a rock at the old dentist's. Secondly, and this is the best part: there are adjustable flat screen tvs with internet tv on them. So, during the nearly two and a half hours that I was lying there, I got to enjoy any shows of my liking. I had headphone and a wireless mouse on my lap. I watched two episodes of family guy, some SNL sketches, and maybe a few other shows. Unfortunately, I had to hold back the laughter, because the assistant was working in my mouth (obviously).

And I must say that the SNL sketches with Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) were f**king hilarious.

Outcome: I have great, healthy teeth. However, my jaw is misaligned and therefore my teeth grind, which results in gradual gum recession and teeth "filing". Best solution: undergo reconstructive surgery to fix the alignment of my teeth in my upper jaw. Doesn't that sound fun? And inexpensive?

Short version:
My bottom teeth look like this --> U (correct shape)
My upper teeth look like this --> V (incorrect shape; too narrow)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"I Want Unemployment...For 10 Days Out Of The Year"

I had lunch the other day with two of my favorite (former) coworkers, and they vented to me about all the good stuff that I was missing at [King] County Wastewater Treatment.

As you may or may not know, the County gave 10 furlough days to all County employees in 2009 in order to help the ailing budget. This means that employees will keep their jobs, and they will have 10 unpaid days off during the year. Well, according to my coworkers, Plant Operators do not feel that it is their fault for a budget crisis, and therefore, are seeking to file unemployment claims for each day that they are required to take off.

Apparently they don't understand how an economy works; they don't understand that they get to keep their job and lose only 10 days worth of pay in the year. Union workers never cease to amaze me.

Iron Man...A Logical Fallacy?

Okay, so the title of this post is misleading, but hear me out. One of the down sides of being without television or internet, and being burned out on reading, is that one can sit in one's apartment and continue to watch the exact same movie on DVD over and over again ad nauseum.

Well, maybe it's just me then, but this is what has happened to my life in the past week. I get home from work, I'm tired, so I sit down in front of my computer and watch "Iron Man". Boring, right? However, the more I watch it, the more I am disappointed by how absurd it actually is. I know it's supposed to be a superhero movie, and it is, but it takes place in the obvious real world. For that reason, I have many qualms with specific events in the movie. Here they are at random:

1.) When Tony Stark is escaping from the cave in the first Iron Man suit, he flies up hundreds of (if not over a thousand) feet, and then falls straight down into the sand. The suit completely breaks apart, but he is unharmed. Bullshit. He would be dead. Sand does not act as a cushion.

2.) Jarvis is the computer that runs Stark's house and Iron Man suit. I'm sorry, but there will never be technology that can render human equivalent thought processes. In order for Jarvis to communicate with Stark, they would both have to be on the same mathematical communicative scale. That is, computers "think" (operate) according to binary code. Computer thought is limited to a sequence of 1's and 0's. Science will never be able to replicate a metaphysical being, that being the capacity of human thought. Of course, we can create rules of logic and rules of law that something (let's say a computer) could adhere to, but the computer would never be able to operate in a way that Jarvis from the movie does. Tony and Jarvis's interaction is not merely functional, but conversational. "Working on a secret project are we?" A computer would not be able to detect signs of stress and secrecy. This is a deeply philosophical matter. I think I've made my point on this.

3.) When Pepper is watching the ransom video on Tony's work computer, she merely types in a command to 'translate'. I'm assuming (and don't hold it against me) that his captors were speaking Arabic, which is not a language that flows like English. That would mean that the computer would have to hear it in Arabic first, and then render it in English. But in the movie, it is translated and read in a linear fashion.

On a final note, I will say that I did enjoy this movie. It's an action film, and it entertained me. But now that I've seen it hundreds of times (not literally), I'm more likely to note it for its shortcomings.

I Made The Wrong Decision

I have a terrible head cold, and having missed the bus to work, I had time to get something that I thought might help me body feel better. I went over to the Starbucks on Pine, between 5th and 6th Avenue, and was intent on two things: picking up a New York Times and ordering some tea.

The paper was as depressing as usual, so there was no surprise there. But when I ordered my drink, I decided to try something new: a "Green Tea Latte". I was going to put milk in my tea anyways, so I thought, "why not?" I was sorely mistaken. I made the wrong decision.

I took one sip and threw the entire thing away. Watching the barista pour my drink, my first thought was that it looked creamy and minty. However, once that hot liquid touched my lips, I was utterly appalled. Imagine filling up a blender with broccolli. Now puree that into a viscous material. Heat in the microwave for two minutes. Voila! You have the Starbucks Green Tea Latte.

In short, order something else (and from a place other than Starbucks).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

'Bridge' to Metro Bus 150

Today, I took a bus ride down to Westfield Shopping Center (R.I.P. 'Southcenter') to meet some former coworkers for lunch and I noticed that Metro has revamped their buses. In the articulated bus there used to be two pairs of seats in the middle (rotating) section; now there is only seat on either side.

Despite the fact that I am not a Trekkie (some people at work can tell you of that fact), I felt like I could sit in that chair, lean over to the people on either side and say, "Number 1 (insert anything you want)". Fun on the bus!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The New York Times Isn't In Trouble?

Well, to believe that [this post's title] would be very ignorant indeed. I picked up the paper today, it being filled with joyous world news, and immediately noticed that there was a giant ad for CBS at the bottom of the paper.

In times of economic hardship, I would imagine that their slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," no longer holds true.

In the New York and Seattle Times, I've noticed that many of their layouts consist of large blocks of advertising.

However, the worst thing on the front page was not the advertising, but the news of continued fighting between Israel and...well, the Gaza strip.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What Am I Reading?

The short and simple of it would be to say: nothing. I quit on "Shadow Country" after 104 pages. The story, and the way it was told, was great; but it was not keeping my interest. I've been in the mood to read some philosophy. I did pick up Philosophical Investigations last night, and it keeps me thinking. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Problems With Language

A thought has kept me uneasy for quite some time. It deals with the complexity of language. I think few people take into consideration what is actually expressed with their choice of words. The example I am specifically referring to is a common expression.

"My name is X" versus "I am X"

They appear to be two equivalent statements (propositions), but they are far from it. While both denote a name (a word) that references an object (a person), the referential claims are distinct. To say 'my name is X' is to devoid the expression of any meaning. A name is a name; a word. That is all. To say 'I am X' is to bridge the gap between the word and its actual object.

"My name is X" = [X --> W --> X] or [W --> X --> W] (self-referential)

"I am X" = [X --> W --> O]

Now, of course, let us address the issue of 'symbolic' names. There can be names that fuse with their objects. If someone were to say 'my name is George W. Bush', one would not merely take the name as a word. That particular name, as a mere example, will forever denote a single object.

We can conclude that external factors, outside the limits of language, affect how language references itself. There are several volumes of philosophy, I'm sure, that address these issues ad nauseum. For now, these are the thoughts that occupy my mind.

The Life and Times of Amanda Huginkiss

One of the best parts about saving every piece of paper from college is that you get to enjoy it many times over whence you find it in the box that's buried in the back of your pseudo-closet.

Sophomore year of college ('04-'05) I played a game, whose title I can no longer remember, but it involved constructing a diary; the diary included a name of your choice, a determined income level, and (apparently) many smiley faces. I have no idea how to interpret this diary sheet anymore. It looks like it was fun though. Here is the diary of my character: Amanda Huginkiss; Income: $1.

[Note: this is a direct reprint of the text. Please excuse the improper grammar.]
"My parents feed me organic food. I'm ugly. A drunken parent beat the shit out of me. I got kissed by a hot chick at the movies. Got caught stealing. Had a chance to f**k, but remained abstinent. Probably because I got spiritual the next day! I tried Heroin. It made me happy, but I pissed blood the next day. I tried coke, got f**ked up, but then it was f**king amazing. And I found $10 in my coat pocket. I got a killer job. I'm f**king rich. A corporate suit. I get married to an awesome guy. But where the f**k was he when I got mugged! I got really happy, then I got disabled! WTF! I had sex for the first time, and it totally perked me up and lifted my spirits. I performed in an indie film. I think it was porn though. I was on Fear Factor and got more courage. I have common sense. I'm addicted to caffeine. I go through menopause, and sell all my clothes, but new ones! F**k yea! I got date raped. Love is a bitch! I quit my job, wrote books. I got saved by Kevin Costner when the polar ice caps melt. Damn [illegible writing]. Can't get pregnant, Lost ALL money, can't hold in my poop. Confined to a wheelchair. I die in a nursing home. But I got revived, then died again."
What a beautiful story, eh?