log (2000/02/25 to 2000/03/02)

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Thursday, March 2, 2000

Cold gradually subsiding (knock wood). But I'll probably still be too sick to give blood tomorrow; could one of you go somewhere and give an extra pint for me? Thanks!

Last night I dreamt (groans of horror or sighs of resignation from the readers) that I was hanging out with some peers on a college campus or art colony or something, and we sat down to listen to this singer who was sitting on a carpeted platform playing an acoustic guitar.

He was playing and singing quietly, impossibly quietly, so quietly that only if I closed my eyes and tried not to breathe could I hear the music, or think maybe I could hear the music. It was good music.

Sitting next to him, a young woman was translating his song into sign language. Now and then she would reach over and touch his mouth, or his hand plucking the guitar strings, as if to remind him to sing louder. Or not to sing louder?

Between songs she would sit in his lap, facing away from him and smiling at the audience, and with his fingers he would lightly touch her face, her shoulders, her arms, admiring her.

If you enjoy being mystified by the jargon in film credits ("gaffer", "key grip"), then don't read Movie Credits 101 on Salon: it explains it all, and it's not nearly as mysterious as it looks. (from dailydoozer)

Want to pop some bubbles? Don't mind if they're virtual? Have Flash installed? Try Perpetual Bubblewrap! (from Slumberland)

The Federal War on Citizens continues; see petertrial.com for the latest on Peter McWilliams, a jailed user of medical marijuana. The people of California legalized that the other year, but the Feds don't care. Trial news, and what you can do to help.

Speaking of injustice, Pursed Lips linked to the log the other day, referring to the Ohio photographer story. (I really hope that doesn't just hang unresolved forever.)

The gent

On a lighter note, Pursed Lips also points to this Oscar Wilde quote generator. Such a scamp, that Oscar.

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Wuggh! Still stuffy nose and sore throat and no energy and stuff. But I persevere!

And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids! I used to watch the very silly cartoon Scooby-doo, because it was very silly, and very safe. You always knew exactly what was going to happen; like going to the McDonalds on a foreign planet. My kids have watched it on and off (the little boy, mostly; it's too silly for the dignified little girl). After lots of comical slapstick and building of Rube Goldberg devices, the kids (and dog) would unmask the bad guys, dressed up as ghosts or lizard-men or mummies or aliens or whatever, lugging around lots of smoke emitters and fancy mirrors.

But now (last year or two) there are two modern Scooby-doo movies ("... the Witch's Ghost" and "... on Zombie Island"), and they're depressingly different. Rather than unmasking an evildoer in a silly ghost-costume (although that does happen once or twice in "Witch's Ghost"), the kids (and dog) discover that there really are supernatural (in a vapid generic new-age sort of way) forces at work, and they defeat them in long drawn out scary scenes involving mystical smoke streaming down from the heavens, portals into the netherworld, and so on.

Phhht, I say! They've sold out. "Scooby-Doo, How Could You?" is a CSICOP (the skeptical folks) article that agrees with me.

Nomic: I'm not applying the following moves, for unstated reasons:

No fatties.

Mesa clumsy...g

The scribe must wear a special ceremonial hat while performing all scribe duties, including but not limited to going over valid moves, applying rules, and posting CEOLNN Nomic related data to his webpage.

Every valid move must corrospond in some way to the qabalistic meaning of it's accomponying integer.

althought the hat one was amusing!   *8)

I'm applying this one:

proposal = Add rule: When a Valid Move is made, the Integer is considered. Any entity with score of which the integer is a factor has their score reduced by half. For example, if Bovine had 30 and a Valid move with associated integer 5 were given, Bovine's score would reduce to 15. Said entities are also removed from the sacred piece of paper.
Name = gerph
Integer = 5

despite (or perhaps because of) the obvious potential for abuse. I'm also interpreting the rules such that, after applying this rule, there are now two Rule 5's. This seems consistent to me; anyone who'd like to amend the Rules to clarify the case is welcome to suggest it, of course. I'm also assuming that the "For example..." sentence is intended as a gloss for the Scribe, not a part of the Rule proper. And that the new rule itself doesn't fire as a result of its own adoption.

I'm also applying this:

proposal = Use of Black Cats, Broken Mirrors, Dead Chickens, Voodoo Dolls or any other fate changing devices and/or methodologies earns a Special Creative Technique Bonus of 15 points for any entity who can demonstrably prove the efficacy of the device or methodology.
name = Dither
integer = 759834

interpreting it, again, as a new rule 759834 (so now there are two!). This interpretation may be silly; perhaps the rules should be clarified to provide more concrete guidance to the Scribe.   *8)   This triggers another Rule 6 event, which again benefits that there "Bovine" entity! (The Scribe swears he is not doing this on purpose.)

proposal = The integer accomponying a valid move must be an odd number, but not a prime.
name = bovine
integer = 99

A prefectly good constraint. See the Nomic page for current status.

Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Hey, look, it's Leap Year! I'm currently battling some virus (probably the one that hitched a ride down from Boston in the kids), so don't expect any stellar insights today.

Cite: that amusing (if vulgar) "things that suck" link yesterday came from LystWorthy, yet another Pitas log. Small world: LystWorthy has a paragraph recently about the Codex Seraphinianus.

Three comments on universe switching. From inw:

This is a recurring theme in Pratchett books -- the sudden, and simultaneous, arrival of both a mysteriously little shop in a wall that was once blank, and the memory in everyone's mind that the shop has always been there. Quoting (from memory, so probably incorrectly):

"Yes, but had it always been there yesterday?"

I find that the same sort of thing holds true for alleged 'celebrities' (quotes used carefully!) -- specifically, these people who are famous for being famous. One day, a person will just appear on the media landscape, and everyone just suddenly knows that this person has always been famous...

"Yes, but had she always been famous yesterday?"

I vaguely recall some science fiction character musing about how time travel requires a whole new class of verb tenses to handle this sort of situation (maybe it was even in Pratchett).

From someone who apparently has a life:

You know, every time you ask a question like this, the first answer that comes to mind is *far* too personal to share with a group of mostly strangers. So here's the second answer to come to my mind: I realized today that I suddenly like Earl Grey tea. I had some in the cabinet that I'd bought when a friend visited long ago (and I'm not even friends with her anymore!) - I've always hated the stuff, but I had some a week or two ago, and I had some more today, and for some reason now I think it's really good.

Has your perceptual system changed so that now it actually tastes different, or have your preferences changed so that now you like that taste? Are those two cases distinguishable? Would some nice hot tea help this stuffy nose?

And from jcw:

man oh man, I just worked a graveyard shift as kind of a lark for the first time in I don' t know how long. I got home at 10 am and kinda tried to sleep but woke up about four hours later. what I remember about this kind of thing, back when I used to do it more [in high school] was that the whole next day seems flipped -- like you get to experience your dreams while awake and your real life is a dream. It can be pleasant to go through your 'real life' with everything seeming to have as much consequence as if it were a figment of your imagination... and I should pay more attention to my dreams anyhow...

I love this sort of dialogue; not only does it save me from having to generate all this content myself, but it also drifts where it will, never develops into flame wars (since I wouldn't post those), and the brightness and wisdom of my readers validates me (remind me to talk about validation sometime).

Nomic will have to wait until my head is clearer; I don't trust myself to Scribe correctly in this infected state. Bleaggh!

Monday, February 28, 2000

New Notes and Recommendations from Phil Agre (eGroups copy). Insightful and thought-provoking as usual. I found myself disagreeing with him somewhat more than usual, but also suspecting that he's probably right and I'm probably wrong. His stark summary of the real meanings of "conservative" and "liberal" is definitely worth reading, even if it gets you angry...

Patents are silly things. This one of mine just issued; it's been almost four years since we applied for it, and as usual the way I knew it had issued is that two different Patent Certificate companies sent me letters of congratulations and offers to sell me plaques, mousepads, and mugs with my invention on them. Isn't commerce wonderful?

(Feel free to send me flames about the evils of software patents if you like. I feel that way some days also.)

Someone replaced the design of openlog with a boring default design again (and with no Edit button). So I patched it up a little again.

Reader messages on various subjects (I love volunteer content!); lightly edited. (Keep those cards and letters coming!)

On Consciousness (a duck?):

I like the consciousness page. Of course, we insiders know that in an objective sense consciousness is a non-local hermaphroditical duck consisting of the vertices of any number of vibrations that come from, well, nowhere.

Music recommendations:

Yes, listen to Affirmation; at least, I think it's great

Blake Litton, "Songs of the Starry Skies" Great Music!

On Advertising Non-consumption:

Goop particularly appeals to me. Who can argue with family values?

On crushes of our youths:

The lady

The Pink Panther. Really - of course, I was only six or so at the time, but I used to dream of cuddling up in bed with the Pink Panther (the cartoon) and get all sorts of tingly sensations. In fact I remember begging my mom to order one of those Pink Panther sponges for the bathtub -- when I finally got it I would stay in the bath for hours, often having secret conversations with it. Hmmm... who do I find sexy today? Audrey Hepburn (of about 35 years ago - Breakfast at Tiffany's era). If you think about it long enough there are some striking similarities between the two.

Diana Rigg. I used to watch /The Avengers/ when I was 12; it was on late at night on PBS. It's still hard for me to watch Avengers episodes with someone else in the room. It was the combo of leather, brains, and Judo-style asskicking.

Enthusiastic agreement on the ladies, and even on the panther (for me I think it was the amazing jazz that went along with the character; maybe the first really good jazz I'd heard?).

On the where to push when it says PUSH HERE:

You're supposed to push on the here part. But if the sign says push her, then you aren't supposed to push at all, not unless she wants to be pushed, not unless she wants to be pushed by you. But how does one know? Well, maybe one needs to ask her. And it's her you must ask becuase you can't ask ask. Bye-bye.

Certainly on the HERE part, but if the words are separate enough one is obliged to push betwixt them.

And finally on things in general:

"I hate losing stuff" -- Oh please. We're on the Web now. We have no memory anyway, get over it.

My word for the day: "skepticemia" - n., invasion of the mind by doubts of an unknown origin


It's great having readers.   *8)   More from them, and probably some Nomic moves, tomorrow...

Saturday, February 26, 2000

M and the kids are coming back from Boston today! (What, I didn't mention they were gone? Well, I don't like to complain.) Solitude-loving only child though I am, it'll be really nice to have them back. I'm settin' 'round listenin' to Charlotte Church and the B52's (that'd be an interesting teamup!) and making cookies (thanks to Geegaw for the inspiration).

The classic Toll House chocolate chip recipe, but with extra vanilla extract (because I halved everything else and forgot to halve that) and extra chocolate chips (because hey they're the chocolate part).

Mouth Organ picked up the Ohio kid-photograph story I cited last week, and one of their readers contacted a lawyer who actually knew a bit about the case. He suggested that the waters may be muddier than they appear; see the thread on Mouth Organ for my comments.

One vulgar-but-funny thing I just have to mention: this really fuckingsucks net. Or, if you prefer, nosehair really fuckingsucks net. The possibilities are endless!   *8)

Planet Claire has pink air,
All the trees are red.
No one ever dies there,
No one has a head.

First batch is done! I hope M and the kids get home before I accidentally eat them all myself...         (They did!)

Friday, February 25, 2000

Weblogs.com has a facility that lets Weblogs register tiny banner ads, and present their readers with randomly-chosen ads for registered Weblogs. This seems like kind of a cool idea, but I'm not sure if I want to have a dedicated place on the Log page for an ad. Maybe I'll try just slipping one into the text now and then:

[removed until weblogs.com is more stable!]

Hm, that can sure violate the color scheme, can't it?

One word of warning: weblogs.com's member list has a rather high proportion of people who, well, think that XML is an interesting topic of dinner-party conversation. If you know what I mean.   *8)


What's preppy? Or, what's "preppy"? I used the word in my long meditation yesterday, and a couple of reader letters since remind me that the word is jargon; certainly U.S. jargon, and perhaps U.S. late-baby-boomer jargon. So...

Denotatively, "preppy" refers to someone who attends, or attended, a prep school, a "preparatory" school; a private school intended to prepare kids for college. Connotatively and culturally, the word refers to a particular subculture, marked partly by the fact that many/most of the members attend(ed) prep schools, and that people give each other nicknames like "Muffy". Like a number of other mondern concepts, the word has been canonicalized through parody; The Official Preppy Handbook is now out of print, but it sold a gazillion copies at its height. See the alt.culture page on "preppy" for a decent capsule summary; the word has to some extent seeped into the language.

Preppy isn't just "rich" (it's even possible, if not easy, to be preppy but not rich). Preppy is a particular kind of rich practiced mostly in the Northeastern United States, not involving movie stars or parties where the servants dress like ancient Egyptians, and usually involving country clubs, golf, and rugged (but expensive) clothing. So there you are. (In my own mind, it's associated with certain people from my youth, certain smells, certain afternoons; if I were a better writer I could give you more of those.)

Hey! I didn't realize Doonesbury (one of the comic strips of my Formative Years) was even still around, much less up on the Web daily.

Maybe I've just switched universes again. This happens now and then: I suddenly find that there's some fact that, had it been true yesterday, I would certainly have known, but I didn't. But now suddenly it's true, and has been for a long time. In the universe that I grew up in, for instance, I had been reading science fiction for years; I'd read at least something by every major writer. None of them were named "L. Ron Hubbard". Then when I was about twenty-five he suddenly appeared, as one of the most prolific SF writers of the past decades, not to mention the founder of Scientology. If he'd been around in my original universe, I would certainly have read at least a couple of his novels.

Switched universes lately?  


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