Thursday, December 30, 2004

Done.

I've finally completed the vast biography of Alexander Hamilton that I have read off and on for at least five months. I consider my time and money involved with it well spent. It was a fascinating read- engrossing most of the time (even when Chernow wrote about finances and The Federalist Papers, the material was unusually interesting). It really read like a narrative; I was never much into biographies, but I started last year with Humphrey Carter's take on Tolkien, and I went from there. I took a chance on Alexander Hamilton after I read a few pages of the introduction and realized it was going to be reeeaaally good. It was.

731 pages.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Ahh.


Which John Cusack Are You?


Props to Brandon on this one. This means I'll have to watch this movie again. Good thing I brought it with me...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sellout.

Since people have been writing articles about "indie going mainstream" this year, I decided to compile a few notes on selling out.

I thought Matt had a great idea for a band called The Sellouts. I guess someone else had the same idea.

You sunk your worth in being
different, just to be like your own
kind. You traded in objectiveness,
for the underground you follow
blind.


This comes from an older Five Iron Frenzy song... which reminds me of

So now my fans are crying sellout,
they say that I've lost my touch.
They say I should just get the hell out,
before I do too much.
Hear my songs in an ad for a bathroom cleanser -
they say it's greed,
And now I'm wondering where my friends are in this time of need.
But if you change your mind and buy it,
I hope you enjoy my new box.
I hope you enjoy my new box,
I hope you enjoy my new box set.


the song Box Set, from Barenaked Ladies' first album.

Then you have this cool interview with Isaac Brock:

O: Was licensing your songs to commercials a tough decision?

IB: Figuring out ways to pay the rent isn't really a tough decision. Around the time we did the beer commercial and the shoe commercial, I thought, "Am I compromising my music by doing this?" And I think not. I like keeping the lights on in my house. People who don't have to make their living playing music can bitch about my principles while they spend their parents' money or wash dishes for some asshole. Principles are something that people are a lot better at checking in other people than keeping their own. My rationale behind the beer commercial was, "I like drinking MGD! I like beer probably more than I should, probably more than is healthy." I was hoping I could get a lifetime supply out of the deal, but I guess I'll have to buy it with that big ol' check. [Laughs.]


And this article, which got this whole post rolling:

Has trying to make a living at music changed the way you look at the, sometimes, narrow definitions of selling out?

Tunde Adebimpe: "Daddy, why can't we eat?" "Because Daddy's punk as fuck. Don't be such a little sellout." I don't understand that so much. I think that "selling out" is more about being paid to forget who you are and do something in the service of something empty, something you don't really believe in, which honestly, depending on your situation, is sometimes necessary and happens at a lot of jobs. You should get paid somehow for your art, especially if it's what's occupying most of your time. It's not really a vital thing in the eyes of the world and people could just stop caring at any time, for whatever reason, so if you're working you should be compensated, so you can keep working if, or when, no-one cares.


Well, there you go.

72.

What is ... the number of Christmas songs I sat through tonight?

I didn't realize there were so many Christmas "standards". I realized tonight that I can't tolerate anymore holiday music. My body is rejecting it. It's hampering my songwriting. It's dulling my senses. I mean, the performance was laudatory (especially everyone remembering where to go and what to sing), but it was really just a Christmastime musical overdose. And SLC was good enough, back in the day. But still, no amount of jazzed-up arrangements makes up for hearing the same jolly/somber tune hundreds of times. And it's not like I fully endorse new Christmas songs- the whole effect is having the song established as an everlasting association with the winter holiday season, and any new songs would have to spend a few years working hard to gain my respect. But, I just need some time without Christmas songs... like 3-4 years. Then, maybe. And what day is it... the 18th? Crap, they even play Christmas songs after Christmas, so it'll be a good couple of weeks before it's over.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Are you serious?

A Cornell University survey of 715 Americans reveals that "44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans." Unsurprisingly, they found that those who were more exposed to the media and more religious tended to favor a restriction of civil liberties. I really don't understand.

This is most definitely a rehash of the McCarthy era.

The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register where they lived with the federal government.

I don't know about the number of respondents (715), but I guess the university had a fairly randomized respondent pool. Unsettling.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Grades.

General Psychology test scores:

QUIZ 1 40/40
QUIZ 2 41/46
QUIZ 3 49/48
QUIZ 4 37/40
QUIZ 5 31/34
QUIZ 6 25/25
Final exam 2/60

Heh, heh. My graduate student instructor for Psychology thought he would give us a break on the cumulitive final exam, so that it couldn't hurt your grade at all- only help it (if it turned out to be a higher grade than your second lowest Quiz, it would replace the grade). Realizing I already had an A, I thought I didn't have to go to the exam. Then he said we must go to the exam. I was pretty sure I didn't want to study, and if I didn't study for the final, I probably wouldn't get a higher grade than my second lowest quiz grade, so I decided to bomb it. If he wanted to make the final exam completely useless, I was going to have fun with it. (I also considered marking all "c"s just to see how many points it would get me, but instead I counted the number of C's that I thought were correct=> 13/60, or 21.66%.) I am suspicious of the grade though, as I was pretty confident that I marked all of them wrong (perhaps he added in some extra credit, or a curve). Bummer.

So, in the end, I got an A overall, while managing a 3.33% on the cumulitive final exam for General Psychology.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Look at all the pretty colors.

I usually shy away from online quizzes, but I was feeling particularly adventurous tonight (although I did not mark the "Aventurous" box on the quiz).

you are paleturquoise
#AFEEEE

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz


I considered posting the results only if they matched what I really thought I was like, but where's the fun in that? In Psychology, we call these self-reported assessments, and it's generally acknowledged that people usually don't know what they're feeling or what they're like anyway... but colors are cool! Thanks to Jessica for this quiz!

Monday, December 13, 2004

I keep everything.

Go ahead- ask me for some notes from 9th grade Biology on animal versus plant cell structures. I got 'em. Want some EG band charts from the 2001 Movie Music show? Got those too. Every time I look through my closet I'm reminded of that spring cleaning episode of the Simpsons, where Homer digs through a basement full of old calendars and TV guides that he doesn't want to throw away, because "You never know when an old calendar might come in handy. Sure, it's not 1985 now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? And these TV Guides- so many memories."

This leads me to my second point: whenever I travel, I bring at least 10 useless things with me. "What if I want to catch up on my reading... but, no, I'm gonna need a wide selection, what if I'm not in the mood for that particular book? Better bring four more, just in case." I give myself so many options for doing things, when I usually don't even getting around to doing one or two things completely. On my first plane ride, I carried on took two books, a newspaper, a CD player, CDs, my old school gameboy, games, and a notebook and pens, and I just ended up listening to the music provided on the plane and falling alseep or something. But at least if someone wants to come over and listen to some of my better CDs, play several video games, read a few of my favorite books, rock out on two of my guitars, and watch a few DVDs over the winter break, they'll be able to.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Open Road.

Whenever I go back to the hometown it seems very surreal. I suppose in my egocentrism I except everything to be the same, almost as if time doesn't pass there when I'm up here. But when I see new establishments, and old ones gone, they conflict with my stored image of the area. While I was there, I saw changes in gradual increments, but now when I go back, some things are very different while some things are still very similar to my memories. This causes slight discomfort, but also serves to remind me that 1) sometimes things weren't like I remembered them originally, and 2) the only constant in life is change.

Usually, when I notice these changes in my hometown, I go through a thinking pattern of "How have I changed in the time since I've last been here?" "What have I really accomplished?" "What would I like to accomplish?" and "What really matters in life?". Sometimes I realize I've become really introspective just because that convenience store on the corner isn't called "Cumberland Farms" anymore, and I think "Should I get bogged down in all of these soul-searching questions or just make the best of what I have right now?". So then, that question leads me back to the sort of emotional/intellectual/philosophical equilibrium that I had before I got back into town and, when I leave and come back again, the cycle continues.

I always enjoy the drive too; I get to sit still in one place while rapidly heading toward another place for hours on end and it affords me some time to just think.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Letters to the Editor.

Lay Down Your Weapons

I came, you saw, and you conquered
All alone.
Your poignant words, they punctured
My walls of stone.

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
Scuffin' up my floor.

Defenses fell apart;
You were at the helm.
You said it was a good start
To get me out of my shell.

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
To reignite the war.

You laid your siege upon me.
And it was crafty and obscene.
You never return my calls...

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
To reignite the war.

Leave me alone.

More songs and downloadability coming eventually. Thanks to Drew for recordin' and Matt for mixin'.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

C.S. Lewis, A life by Michael White

C.S. Lewis, whose advice to avoid discarding any of your writings no matter how trivial they seem I've taken to heart for years, apparently had his older brother Warren burn a substantial bundle of his own papers after his death. Among the papers were believed to be unfinished manuscripts of novels, personal letters, and essays. Biographer Michael White states that among the letters were correspondence between Lewis and Janie Moore, the mother of one of Lewis's wartime buddies. In a strange relationship, Lewis and Moore fell for each other after Paddy (Lewis's friend and son of Janie) died in the Great War. Lewis was 19 and Janie 45 when they first met.

One beef I have with this biography is that it seems White quotes or refers to Lewis's autobiography on nearly every other page. Makes White's account seem rather extraneous- like I should just go and read Surprised by Joy. Oh, well.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Journal

I suggest that everyone out there keep a personal journal/diary of your daily, mundane experiences. Sure, sometimes it'll become repetitive and stale, but just stick with it, and someday you can go back and read such gems as...

So the wisdom teeth operation went well monday... they just took an X-ray, stuck me with the IV, which was scary... and went at it. All i can remember is Dr. Burns saying “I need a haircut” before he started, and maybe an episode, where there was something in my lap, and i dropped it or something, and the nurse was like “oh that’s okay’ cuz i said i was sorry. Anyway. I got done, and there was crap in my mouth, and i couldn’t talk and whatsuch. And when i got home, i went to sleep, and then like mom was so out of it. I was coughing on my own blood, and trying to say, “can i change the cotton things myself?” and she just didn’t get it, she was ordering me around like a child. So i got mad at her... eh. It wasn’t that bad. Then i went driving tuesday... not a good idea...

This is from that one time where I had my six wisdom teeth removed.

I have also become interested in reading biographies, so ... if you ever get famous you'll have quite a lot of material that your biographer will feel obligated to read, but won't use because it's mostly useless.

Tell me

how that last post showed up three times when it didn't even process the first time...? Nevermind, I don't care (I deleted two of them).
List of good songs I listened to today:

Morrissey "The more you ignore me, the closer I get". 3 guitar parts throughout, up to 5-6 during the choruses. Very impressive.

Foo Fighters "Big Me". Main vocals doubled- gives it a spooky ambience, harmonized vocals work well with the tune. Simple.

Pearl Jam "Animal". Wicked awesome guitar solo that extends into the chorus. Tight!

The Mountain Goats "Baboon". "Your powers stripped of meaning, sky burning, spring cleaning".

and

That new song I'm working on that has a pretty good melody and keeps it simple. Might be a while before all of you hear that one though- still have to arrange it a bit, and such.

I never thought it'd come to this...

Dear STA2122,

We’ve been seeing each other for about three months now, but I’ve been harboring these feelings that, well, it’s just not going to work out between us. In short, you’re too simple-minded and predictable for my tastes.

When we first met, my friends told me you were boring and not worth my time. At first I didn’t believe them- you introduced a few concepts to me that I had never encountered before. But after a while it became rather stale- down to the same old thing over, and over, and over again. You never really challenged me; you never even tried. You were content with meeting three times a week, but as time went on I wanted to see you less and less often.

So, this Thursday night will be the last time I see you. I don’t need you anymore. After that I will throw away all of my notes from you. I will sell the book I bought for you. I will forget about you. If people bring up your name in conversations with me, I will openly mock you and everything you stand for. I’ll let everyone know that you’ve done nothing but waste my time. Badbye.

Sincerely,
JPD

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Simpsons: A Linguistic Analysis

I wasn't too happy with my first academic paper on The Simpsons- most likely because I didn't put enough time into it. But it got the job done (and I'm not too worried about it since my average in my linguistics class is over 100%). Here are the highlights:

The Simpsons television series provides a fine example of the comedic effect of cleverly prepared language. In particular, the episode “Marge vs. the Monorail” includes representative processes of phonetics, interesting creations from morphology, and lively aspects of sociolinguistics that aid in the conveyance of humor through manipulations of language.
...
Another cunning moniker arises from the traveling salesman, “Lyle Lanley,” whose persona reflects that of Harold Hill from The Music Man. Lyle Lanley, a name filled with soft lateral consonants, nearly literally “rolls off the tongue” and complements his rapid, smooth-talking nature rather well.
...
“Truckasaurus,” a large, metallic, truck-eating machine, provides an example of a compound word and blend. Taking the ferocity of “tyrannosaurus” and the action of destroying “trucks,” “truckasaurus” elicits a humorous response through its blatant combination of words. Another blend comes when Homer is discussing Bart’s future: “Do you wanna change your name to Homer Junior? The kids can call you ‘Hoju’”.


Ahh, college.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Heh.

My Very Own Digital Wishlist.

Update #1 reflects the outright rockness of the Presidents of the United States of America.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Notice:

ACNS will begin charging $0.05 per printed page starting Spring '05.

"The Dude minds. This will not stand, you know, this agression will not stand, man."

This is pretty shocking- going from 35 free printed pages per day in the computer labs to charging $0.05 per page. Why don't they just enforce the limit, or lower the limit, or both? I'm sure this new policy will deter an abuse of the system, but it's pretty upsetting to me.

Next thing you know they'll be making us pay for our parking permits, football tickets, rock concerts, top-notch movies... Hey, I guess it's not that bad afterall. Oh well, maybe I'll just get a printer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Two subjects in one post! *gasp*

In a current bid to elevate my status in Nerdtonia, here is my current preoccupation (update: 5/4/2015. "Zelda: Ocarina of Time"). As I've been playing through it, everyone has been telling me it's such a "great game". Roommates, suitemates, kids with scruffy beards that wear only black and grey, kids across the hall. I guess it had better pick up then- thus far it's been a pretty good addition to the series; however, the controls are a little choppy, the camera angle can be very annoying, and most of the puzzles are deceptively easy- to the point where every once in a while, you get one of those really annoyingly easy puzzles that is sitting, both mockingly and precariously, between you and the next plot advancement (for example, breaking wooden boxes does not involve hitting them with your huge, chunky sword, but rather rolling into them). I remain optimistic, however; perhaps it will get better when/if I get the boomerang.

In other unrelated, unimportant developments, Yahoo Mail decided to up my storage capacity for e-mails from a relatively unreachable 100.00 MB maximum to a staggering 250.00 MB. I was even a little saddened to see my slowly creeping 16% of capacity meter fall to a measly 6%. Wow, that is sad (that I cared a little about that, not that it happened). Uh, so send me a lot of attachments and stuff. I guess.

(*Update: 5/4/2015. We've come a looooonnnggg way as far as email storage limits go.)

Monday, November 29, 2004

What?

I just read a comment from someone on the internet (a mistake on my part): "Modest Mouse? Just buy some Talking Heads albums. Get it from the original source."

Where do people draw the line at disregarding new bands simply because they incorporate influences from older bands?? (Uh, by the way I've never heard this comparison before, I find it hard to see any connections between the two bands on any of Modest Mouse's pre-Good News... albums [or even any songs on Good News... besides {MAYBE} the singles].) In my view, songs are as unique as fingerprints- even if a band consciously tries to capture someone else's sound or style, they're not gonna get it exactly right, and in the process they are adding some of their own spins on the music. Bands that consciously copy, however, usually end up sucking anyway...

Seems like anyone saying we don't need Modest Mouse because we have (had) the Talking Heads would be happy with only 5 really good bands that each did really distinct things. Then, that's it. No new music (unless it's reaaaallly different from everything that's ever been put out).

In a final note, I AM against rehashing old music, but I'm not hardcore about it. AND it will probably be the case that bands will start copying Modest Mouse. etc.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I have just realized

I have just realized that a few small changes in the things I do could produce considerable positive results in the long run.

Two weeks ago I started collecting aluminum cans. I wash them out, crush them, and store them in grocery bags. I pick them up off the ground when I see them (which helps the environment / trash collectors), will recycle them (again, with the environment, whilst also making a penny for myself), and this does not seem hinder my day to day activities in the least. This is also relatively easy, since no one here thinks about saving cans, or even recycling them.

Then, since I feel that I'm not operating at my maximum potential, I will try to schedule daily allotments of activities (such as going through my library of movies, video games, and books) in order to get a little bit done day by day. Surely if my father can build an addition (from the ground up, by himself) to our house that increases its size by at least 28.7% over a couple of years, I can get some reading of classic novels down in a few months. I've actually been thinking about doing this for a long time; I suppose first I'll need to schedule a time to make my schedule.

BUT, before all of that tom-foolery, I need to write a daring language analysis of an episode of The Simpsons by Thursday so I have time to finish recording the demo, the first step to Letters to the Editor conquering the known world, before we part for the winter. ... (And "study" for this lame computer competency test that I will rock Wednesday, so I will not have wasted 35 precious $$$.)

wakka wakka wakka

(*Update: 5/4/2015. I recall those bags of cans sitting around for a long time until both me and my roommate were sick of them and just chucked them out. There might be a lesson in that.)

Monday, November 22, 2004

Knecht Ruprecht

I learned about Krampus in German class today. Apparently, Austria has a unique holiday tradition- of having an evil santa emerge and terrorize all of the bad children before the good santa comes out with the presents.

Stories from my German TA followed about when he lived in Austria and a group of 50 or so men dressed up as Krampus in elaborately-decorated attire, wielding thumping rods and chains. The better to beat you with. He said they usually got intensely drunk and started going after everyone in sight with their weapons. Interesting concept.

If I were an instructor...

If I were an instructor, I would allow students to reverse "shoot the moon" (updated: 5/4/2015) on my mutiple choice tests- if they got every single question wrong, then I would give them 100% (but if they got even one right, I would give them 5% or whatever).

I think about this every time I take a multiple choice test.

(*Update: 5/4/2015 - My final for my General Psychology class was like this. My instructor (a grad student) said that if we had an A in the class by the time the final came around, the test would not negatively affect our grade. So it would only bump you up, not take you down. Still, we had to show up. So I sat for the test and deliberately tried to get every question wrong. It was a lot of fun. I don't remember the grade I collected on the final, but I think it was under 10%.)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

...

The Student Life Building is having an advanced screening of The Life Aquatic on December 8th, two and a half weeks before it opens. Required passes to be distributed around December 1st.

Speechless.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Punctuation: A Lost Art.

I recall reading a witty essay (update 11/20/04 12:56 P.M.; second update 5/4/2015, "Pico Iyer: In Praise of the humble comma") on punctuation in high school, but I cannot remember the name or author for the life of me.

In these times of enhanced language "connectivity" attained through the internet, I have noticed a substantial phenomenon: many people do not use enough punctuation! (Based on the popularity of this post, following topics on the complications of homophones, possessives, contractions, capitalization, appositives, parenthetical asides, number agreement in subjects and verbs and other forms of written minutia over which I obsess could be considered.)

The subject of semicolons, in particular, fascinates me; they can create a nice flow between sentences and act as a connector of ideas. This article on semicolon usuage is very well-constructed.

I think punctuation is very important- it can even be fun! We should all be thankful that we have punctuation- archaic Latin didn't even have periods (because the main verb would separate sentences by naturally falling at the end of sentences)! Just consider your punctuation as an extension of your individual language style and express yourself. Use more ellipses too; they can do more than simply trail off a lingering thought... they can add thought-provoking space to your sentences. Colons are also powerful; use them in titles or at the end of a complete thought to signal an expansion of your idea. Think of them as a doorway that opens up to reveal your next clause. Though no colons are coming out naturally during the process of creating this post, I can think of one way to solve that: a focus of my creative energy and a swift conclusion.

That's it- no more posts after 1:00 A.M. EST.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dilemma.

Yesterday Matt made a harrowing observation: On Friday December 3rd, The Presidents of the United States of America are playing at The Beta Bar AND Rushmore is playing as the free midnight movie that night at the SLB.

So,

I've seen Rushmore before, but not on the big screen. I haven't seen the Presidents live.

Rushmore is free, and that is good. The Presidents are $13 in advance, $15 the day of, which is somewhat reasonable.

The Presidents have better than decent local band Believe in Toledo, and decent band The Drake Equation opening for them. Before Rushmore is a showing of Anchorman. However, Rushmore does have Bill Murray. And that funny, quirky Jason Schwartzman.

The concert starts at 9:30 PM, but they usually don't start on time and there is another opening band, Say Anything. So it will most definitely go past midnight.

And then there's always the dilemma of going to the midnight movie or breakfast for a buck. What to do?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Holy Freakin' Cow

Hardee's newest addition to its fastfood catalog is the Monster Thickburger.

With 1,400 calories.

And 107 grams of fat.

Dare me to eat one?

I don't even think this guy could handle more than two of these without ceasing to exist.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Jones Soda + HSR

Jones Soda, makers of really good tasting soda, make really bad tasting soda. And sell it. A lot of it.

HAhahaha.

*EDIT:

And the Chapman brothers produce another gem. Seriously, this is one of the best. Maybe even better than The Bird.
*Gasp* Is this the end for SBEmails?? Probably not. (They just released the Strong Bad Emails DVD this week, too). Oh, and there are two easter eggs at the end of this week's email, on both of the gears at the end.

OH Yeah! And they're releasing 12 pack cans of Jones Soda! Only at Target!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Hate and War

The Clash got me thinking. Mick Jones pointed out in an interview that (The Clash song) "Hate and War" was just the opposite of everything the hippies were preaching at the moment (love and peace), a point so blatantly obvious that I felt inadequate for not realizing it.

Hate and war, the only thing we got today. And if I close my eyes, it will not go away.

But they weren't talking about starting revolutions or political uprisings, they were telling it how it was. They didn't wish for the unattainable goals of world peace and universal love, they just pointed out all the hate and war that was happening around them.

So, this got me thinking. Are world peace and love really unattainable? ...Yes. It seems to me that for every advance in medicine and healthcare that extends the human lifespan and reduces the rate of preventable deaths, there needs to be a sort of balance if not only for the purposes of population control and stability. Therefore maniacal tyrants wipe out entire groups of people, and wars take down the population a bit.

Uh, this isn't flowing as well as I thought, and I can't seem to express clearly what I'm thinking (nor do I have useful links), so I'm gonna try to wrap this up.

Is war the oldest human institution? It seems to extend long before the formation of written language, and the formation of cities. It seems natural enough (hmm, nature is harsh when it comes to predator and prey at times, but are there cases of animal warfare? ...like a colony of ants systematically united against another colony, or monkey groups in warfare? Any Biology majors out there?)- as natural as anger, but it just seems (to me) that human society should have progressed past this primal instinct.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

What I may have learned today.

Austria has a policy of permanent neutrality, despite joining the European Union in 1995.

In terms of field dependence learning styles, I am more of a field independent learner. I "enjoy analyzing grammar structures" and "prefer working alone to working with other people." However, I am "less skilled in interpersonal/social relationships" and "need a quiet environment in order to concentrate well."

One must pay FSU $30 in order to prove to the Man that one is computerly competent.

I enjoy making up words like "computerly".

One must have an idea of what to "get out of the [FSU] career center" before stumbling in and asking the counselors what's up. Without an idea, the counselors will typically sit someone in front of a large file of articles detailing, for example, various people's success stories and "interesting careers" in Psychology.

FSU's radio station, WVFS 87.9, does not have The Police's "So Lonely" in its library, but the host will play "De do do do, de da da da" upon its request (close enough).

Apparently, professors sometimes employ substitute teachers to instruct the classes they cannot attend. Can I send in a substitute student?

and

It seems Britney Spears just keeps on breaking all the rules...
like the one I made that says that she's not allowed to release a greatest hits CD.

I am Charlotte Simmons.

Alright, the new Tom Wolfe novel, I am Charlotte Simmons, comes out today (November 9th, 2004)! I read an excerpt from it this past summer in a Rolling Stone issue. Turns out Wolfe went to various universities across the nation (from Stanford to UF), researching his novel on the modern times of university life (see title of this blog).

Listen to an interview with Wolfe here.

Read a review here.

Heck, win a trip to talk to Wolfe here!

This book is going to the top of my Christmas list (hint, hint).

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Last Minute Reminder.

Polls are closed throughout (maybe not in Alaska and Hawaii, whatever), but in case you forgot, Dick Cheney usually keeps his promises:

"Make no mistake: If Kerry becomes president, no one will be safe from me," Cheney told reporters. "Businesses, places of worship, schools, public parks: No place will offer you refuge. A vote for Kerry is a vote to die in your own bed at the hands of Dick Cheney."

So be careful, or be roadkill!

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Behold our door in all of its glory. Thanks to matt and kat for the idea and combined effort. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Internet.

Today, I feel somewhat obligated to relay some information that many people who do not visit Fark regularly would likely miss. So,

Meet Elvis, the lovable alligator.

Next, we have Barry M. Seltzer, the guy who claims “I was exercising my political expression,” when he drove his Cadillac "up the sidewalk directly at Harris and others before swerving and driving away".

Monday, October 25, 2004

It really amazes me that people can screw up the simplest things.

So, I work in a Psychology lab on campus, and I run experiments on students that need credit for their classes. I don't expect much from students in General Psychology (who comprise much of the subject pool), as they are usually freshmen and are still getting acquainted to college. But the system here for signing up and doing experiments is about as fool-proof as possible. Still, I get at least 6 people a week who 1) Do not know the name of the experiment they signed up for 2) Do not know what room their experiment is in, and/or 3) Do not know what time/day they signed up for. Most of these people aren't even doing my experiment, they just walk by the room, decide to enter, and ask me about dozens of other experiments that I didn't know existed. I mean, come on, you at least need to know what, where, and when your classes are... can't you just write down the information you need for the experiments???

As for the ones that manage to make it to our experiments on time, ... well they aren't the brightest bunch. Although I tell them the buttons they need to press are the ones with "Y and N" written on pieces of paper and taped onto the keyboard, and not the actual "y and n" buttons, and although they read the instructions, people still hit the wrong buttons, and subsequently contribute essentially no informative data for our experiments. Then, I tell them to keep hitting the space bar for this one experiment, because words come up one at a time (also in the written instructions), 40 minutes later, they come out, having let the computer program advance the words on its own, leaving us with no useful data, and getting me behind in scheduling.

And then there are the post-experimental forms. Don't even ask me about the forms.

On the plus side, my last two subjects on Monday didn't realize that they signed up for the same experiment twice (this happened to me about 9 times already... if you do sign up for the same experiment twice, why sign up for the same day in the same time period twice, so I that I know you've already done this experiment because I recognize your face????), so I got to leave an hour early.

AND, you can't tell me this is hard stuff to do, because I'm doing it. I'm also in General Psychology (tearing it up BTW), taking experiments (other than the one I'm running) and getting credit for it. So, there's no need to screw it up, guys. Seriously. ... That reminds me, I have to go to an experiment right now!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

LTJ + Al Gore + 9/11

I less than three Less Than Jake.

In other news, I saw Al Gore speak today at the courthouse here. I enjoyed the content and delivery of his speech much more than John Edwards' last sunday. He seemed determined, but not vengeful, which was a good move on his part. He used humor, effectively.

To provide a nice balance to this afternoon's speech, I'll be attending the showing of FarenHYPE 9/11 tonight at the student life building here. I will try to compare it and contrast it to Moore's documentary.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Blackness Prevails.

"I wear black on the outside because black is what I feel on the inside" is most likely the worst Morrissey line ever.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Yes, yes, yes keep on a-rockin! No, no, no don't stop a-rockin!

Nothing beats one-class Fridays with a cheap Hari Krishna-cooked lunch followed by the perfect afternoon nap and discovery that you haven't forgotten how to play scales on piano. And then, topping it off with a real fruit smoooooooooooothhhiiiiiiiiieeeeee.

...

Except, maybe, no-class Mondays with a Thai lunch followed by me winning the lottery.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Windows Media.

I opened windows media player today, and on the front page, it had a link to hear Jimmy Eat World's entire new CD. So, ... check that out. I searched for it on windowsmedia.com, but couldn't find the link.

However, this did prompt me to search for other full lengths available, and found Elliot Smith's "From a Basement on a Hill" (it was at this site, but it looks like a page they constantly change, so you can just search for artists on the mainpage).

I didn't know they did this nowadays. Oh, yeah, I found REM's newest release on myspace.com the other day. Interesting.

*Edit: Rilo Kiley!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Sleep Disorders.

I was reading my Psychology book again today:

"Other sleepers, mostly children, experience night terrors. The person might sit up or walk around, talk incoherently, experience a doubling of heart and breathing rates, and appear terrified. The night-terror sufferer seldom wakes up fully during the episode and recalls little or nothing the next morning... As with sleepwalking, night terrors usually occur during the first few hours of Stage 4 [sleep]."

Stage 4 sleep occurs earlier in the night, usually after an hour of sleep, and occurs only 2-3 times during the sleep cycles in one night. They say about 5% of children have sleep disorders like night terrors, and that "After age 40, sleepwalking is rare."

Also,

"Some people remember the
Night Terror. Some don't... Agree with what they are saying and doing... DO NOT yell at them or tell them they are only dreaming as this seems to only upset them even more."

Ain't it the truth?

And,

"Even more interesting is the fact that all of these sleep disorders often run in families."

Crap.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Untitled.

Larger than life, you lie
Above our heads, catching our eyes.
On a couch, you recline.
Pillows fluffed, morals maligned;
Ego stuffed, morals defined.

Cold weather, you face
Sleet, rain, and snow,
Though none will dampen
Your radiant glow.

Two pieces you wear
On top and below,
But your skin and your scruples
Are both being sold.

Does your money keep you warm at night,
While your morals are off at work?
Does your paycheck justify your sight
On the billboard for the product you serve?

Shatner Back in Action.

William Shatner has teamed up with Ben Folds to make his second musical album, Has Been. Weird.

I think the most surprising tidbit from this (for me) was that Shatner is 72 years old. Now, that's old. I would like to hear some of this, so someone get it and send me a copy.

Friday, October 15, 2004

ATTN: Comments Enabled

To add comments to my whimsical posts, click on the "#" sign below the post. (If I cared the slightest bit more I would try to find out how to add a direct "comment" link on the main page.)

Go Hog Wild.

*Edit: Wow, I guess I didn't realize my own strength... (0) comments.

(Did any of this make sense to anyone else?)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Scary.

This article from today prompted me to look up a report I heard about from the CIA.

First of all,

"Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons are disappearing from Iraq"

What??

How do materials like these disappear and neither the United States nor Iraq has anything to say about it?

Secondly, from the above article again-

"President Bush... justified the war, in part, by saying that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was on the brink of developing a nuclear bomb that he might use against the United States or give to terrorists."

Bush then picks Charles Duelfer to launch a thorough investigation of Iraq's weapons programs, and he comes back with

"Saddam's primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections... with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD..."

And, from The Washington Post:

"The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq."

(That Washington Post article sometimes prompts for registration, so NY Times and CNN have similar articles.)

(Second Note, if one searches for "Charles Duelfer report" on google, then many articles will appear, and one may have access to them from there.)

NYC

I considered writing a whiny, egotistical post about missing out on Less than Jake, Jurassic 5, Dave Matthews Band, Morrissey, and Cake in concert (... not at the same, over a short period of time), but I've decided to steer this in a positive direction.

I traveled about 3000 miles in 3 days.

New York City was wonderful, but not novel this time around. I went there for a week in the spring and was amazed by it. But, now, not so amazed. So many people. We managed to drop in on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (after quite a bit of walking) and it was fantastic. We saw students sitting around sketching different pieces of art, and visited various wings on Egyptian, Greco-Roman, European, and American art and sculptures. We got lost in there.

Central Park was very entertaining- colorful foliage and many people presenting their wares. Painters, portrait artists, jugglers, and musicians (a bassoon player!).

Saturday Night Live, the focus of our venture, was also entertaining and exciting. It was very strange to witness all the movements inbetween sketches, notice the small, small stages and workspace, and realize that this crew does this every week. Impressive. Various "camera tricks" create a sense of a spacious set and easily-flowing ideas, when in actuality, the microphones are about a foot above the actors, weekend update was set on the main stage (right in front of the band) and Tina Fey and that other chick were wearing jeans with those blazers, and everything was hectic during commercials. The SNL band was brilliant. Jeffrey, the tenor-saxophone player was amazing, and the band was well rehearsed and played a set before the show, and during all commercials. Queen Latifah was also great. I think my favorite moment was when she walked into that sketch with Martha Stewart in jail and just gave the funniest look into the camera. Hilarious!

All that traveling has left me kind of beat. Although I slept entirely through both flights (even through the safety demonstrations of the second flight), I think my body discovered that it's unnatural for someone to be 30,000 feet above ground, traveling hundreds of miles per hour. I don't think it likes staying up more than 24 hours at a time, either.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Talking Heads.

Instead of buying lunch today, I bought a Talking Heads album, More Songs About Buildings and Food. Probably the best decision I've made all day.

I chose music over food because I thought I got the new Cake CD in the mail, but it turns out it was just the extra disc they send out for ordering it, with a few b-sides on it. Dank.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Old movies are great.

Quotes:

"Now give me a big kiss... before I sock ya!"

"That's it. You're free."

"That poor, dumb cat."
"Yeah, cats don't know anything about electricity."

"It's a hot day, that's a leather seat, and I've got a thin skirt."

"That other girl, she didn't mean anything to me!"

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Abraham Maslow.

I learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in Psychology the other day.

In essence, Maslow argued that certain needs must be satisfied in order to achieve other needs. For example, one would not be looking for a loving relationship if one were literally starving to death, or suffocating to death. Their immediate concern would be to find food, or to continue breathing, in order to continue living. This seems pretty natural.

What got me thinking was the top layer of the pyramid, usually referred to as "Self-actualization needs". This subject remains a bit fuzzy, although Maslow provided a few ideas of what he meant for someone to be "self-actualized". Among them were a "need to live up to one's fullest and unique potential". He said that such self-actualized people should have "acquired enough courage to be unpopular, to be unashamed about being openly virtuous". In the website linked above, the author talks about Maslow's examples of self-actualized people: "The self-actualizers also had a different way of relating to others. First, they enjoyed solitude, and were comfortable being alone... They enjoyed autonomy, a relative independence from physical and social needs."

Now, for me, these qualities seem to conflict with some of the needs necessary to achieve any self-actualization. Many of the examples were "solitary" people, which tends to go against the fulfillment of "belongingness and love needs" in the third level of the pyramid. Also, Maslow's comment that the self-actualized acquiring "enough courage to be unpopular" seems to openly contradict his level of esteem needs, which describes "recognition and respect from others".

I'm sure there is a rational explanation for this, but at this time I choose to formulate some of my own. Perhaps when one reaches this ultimate need for "self-actualization," one would not need the lower levels of the pyramid. Perhaps this person would transcend the very boundaries of the pyramid, and be willing to go without the respect or companionship of others. Perhaps, when someone is self-actualized, they are prepared for death (they do not even need the lowest level of the pyramid ["physiological needs"]).

Or maybe self-actualization is just an extension of the pyramid. Perhaps Maslow had a pessimistic view of society and believed that for someone to be self-actualized they would necessarily have to reject the opinions of the masses, in an attempt at real "virtue". Nevertheless, Maslow has outlined many driving factors in human existence... and made them into a nicely colored flow chart.

But I still have my doubts about his method of thinking. I mean, what about Thoreau? He isolated himself from everyone. Was he becoming self-actualized then? Or was he just a nutcase?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

A Mythology of Death.

I found this webpage when I searched for a quote from Calvin and Hobbes:

A Mythology of Death

(By the way, the quote was "Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world's
problems?" -Calvin)

Although the author of this essay does not really analyze modern attitudes toward death, she does compare a variety of views in ancient mythology. I've always been interested in this sort of thing.


I went fishing with some friends last summer and I caught an average sized fish. Now, I had been fishing dozens of times before with my father, but this was the first time I can remember grabbing the fish (to try to get it off the hook that it swallowed) and feeling its heartbeat pulsating in my hand. It shocked me. It made me reconsider fishing and hunting (especially after reading an article about trouts feeling pain in their lips) and realize that I was holding a living entity in my hands. Coupled with a book I read last year, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, it almost had me going vegetarian. Luckily, my healthy appetite had me digesting chicken stir-fry again in no time.

Accident.

I witnessed my first automobile accident today. I was heading south on Monroe St. and had just passed an intersection (at Sixth) when I saw a car in front of me and in the left lane come to a complete stop. At first, I was confused; I was in the right lane and saw the green car stop short and all this shrapnel fly in a cloud in front of the car. My initial thought was that a bomb had set off (from my angle, I did not see an obstruction in front of the car). It wasn't until I pulled into a parking lot onto my right and got out that I realized it was a car crash. Apparently, a white Grand Marquis had pulled out of the parking lot I was in, and the green car had hit the left back side of it.

Many cars (I think 7, including me) had stopped to see if everyone was okay. Both drivers seemed fine, but they eventually took the passenger of the green car out on a stretcher. Someone was already on the line with the police when I noticed that the green car was leaking a lot of fluid (also green) onto the street. This did not stop most people from driving past the accident in the right lane. One of the people who stopped seemed to be a retired paramedic- he was short and stout and had big, long white hair, and a huge white beard. He was, in no time, in the street talking to the passengers and seeing if they were okay. I felt a little bad for him, because when the officers arrived (close to five minutes after someone called, I believe) they kept ordering him to stay on the side of the road.

I stuck around for fifteen minutes or so, but no one approaced me for my account, so I left.

It was a very strange ordeal. Right when it happened, things did seem to slow down a little. I was mostly confused because I had not seen the car pull out into traffic, and I did not hear any squealing tires, just saw the cloud of metal explode in front of the car. I had one of those shocking moments where I just stood in awe, taking it in, while slightly disturbed that the traffic continued to flow around the scene as if nothing had happened. People had places to go, places to be.

As I drove away, I looked into my rearview mirror and saw something close to what is portrayed in so many movies, but happening right behind me. Three cop cars, an ambulance, and a firetruck all with lights spinning, flashing. Three men with gloves pushing the stretcher to the ambulance. Metal strewn across the street. Needless to say, I took extra care to pay attention to my surroundings and driving on the way home.

Friends, please be careful while driving...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Cake "I Bombed Korea" lyrics

I bombed Korea every night.
My engine sang into the salty sky.
I didn't know if I would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.

I bombed Korea every night.
I bombed Korea every night.
Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn't even know us.
We didn't know if we would live or die.
We didn't know if it was wrong or right.
I bombed Korea every night.

And so I sit here at this bar.
I'm not a hero.
I'm not a movie star.
I've got my beer,
I've got my stories to tell.
But they won't tell you what it's like in hell.

Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn't even know us.
We didn't know if we would live or die.
We didn't know if it was wrong or right.
We didn't know if we would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.

-From Cake's debut album, Motorcade of Generosity.
Lyrics found at Lyrics Directory.

TV Advertisements.

How sad is it when I see professional rap stars selling themselves for a cell phone commercial? I just saw Kanye West and what I think was "Ludacris" being all hip and cool... advertising a Boost Mobile commercial? What is that? The moment I see Rivers Cuomo selling his favorite toothpaste, I will burn all of my Weezer CDs in effigy.

...but is this worse? I don't think so... I don't think a cover of Island in the Sun by some band with vocals by Mary and Ashley-Kate is on the level of the rapper sell-out mentioned above...

but I could just be a hypocrite.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bush says "Stay the Course".

1) October 28th, 2003. "President Bush said the US would "stay the course" in Iraq yesterday as the latest wave of violence raised questions about America's timetable for withdrawal of its forces."

"It's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerges, and we will stay the course in order to achieve this."

This article (linked above in "stay the course") also mentions that "The Bush administration wants to scale down its presence in Iraq - possibly reducing its force of 130,000 troops to just 50,000 - in the next year."

However, in an article dated May 5th, 2004: "Defense officials had expected to reduce the level of U.S. troops in Iraq to about 115,000 this year and about half that by the summer of 2005. Now, they are preparing to maintain a force of 138,000 for at least the next 18 months as they have seen violence rise over the past few weeks."

2) April 13th, 2004. The President's National Address. The first question from the press and The President's response follows.

"Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, April is turning into the deadliest month in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, and some people are comparing Iraq to Vietnam and talking about a quagmire. Polls show that support for your policy is declining and that fewer than half Americans now support it. What does that say to you and how do you answer the Vietnam comparison?"

"THE PRESIDENT: I think the analogy is false. I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops, and sends the wrong message to the enemy. Look, this is hard work. It's hard to advance freedom in a country that has been strangled by tyranny. And, yet, we must stay the course, because the end result is in our nation's interest."

3) September 23rd, 2004.

"President Bush said on Thursday that he and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi would "stay the course" in Iraq and insisted national elections will be held there in January despite a worsening insurgency."

This article was the one that spurred my mission to find a few "stay the course" comments and assemble them next to each other. Also, in this article, Donald Rumsfeld comments on possible Iraqi elections to be held in January:

" He [Rumsfeld] said an election could perhaps be held in "three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great."

Later in the article, Allawi states "The Iraqi elections may not be perfect ... But they will take place and they will be free and fair."

...

(Except for those peaceful people located within the regions planned to be excluded from voting due to "pockets of terrorists".)

And, in closing, the funniest line of the article reads "Allawi, who said he receives death threats daily, tried to play down the negative in Iraq."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Language.

My new favorite, completely grammatical sentence is "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." Let me break it down for you- a similar sentence would be something like "The tiny animals that tigers eat often eat other tiny animals." American bison from Buffalo, New York can be called “Buffalo buffalo.” (adjective, noun) So, replacing every noun (and adjective) in the sentence with “Buffalo buffalo,” then “The Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo buffalo eat often eat other Buffalo buffalo.” Now, “buffalo” can also be a verb (“to overwhelm, to intimidate”). So, replacing the verbs with buffalo, “The Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo buffalo buffalo often buffalo other Buffalo buffalo.” Now, removing unnecessary words (like in “Tiny animals tigers eat eat tiny animals”) we have “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”

For more amusing language tricks, consult “The Language Instinct,” by Steven Pinker.

A Meaningful Life, or a lack thereof?

Today I will approach the ever-lasting question of life (most likely in a sloppy, unorganized fashion).

I read more of my Psychology textbook today. I read about statistics. The author spent some time debunking the myths of statistics. He writes about a woman who won the New Jersey State lottery two times, about the draw-three lottery for New York on September 11th, 2002 was 9-1-1, and about being dealt a royal flush in poker on the first hand. Though these events seem like monumental displays of good luck or strange breaks in randomly selected probabilities, Myers argues that any of these events, given the bigger picture, is perfectly reasonable. Given the number of people that play state lotteries, he writes that there should be a reasonable chance that five people daily should win the lottery twice. The probability of being dealt 10 through Ace of hearts on the first try is exactly the same as being dealt some hodgepodge of suits and numbers (1 in 2,598,960). His main point in this section was- do not generalize results (correlation does not equal causation and such) and do not be surprised by "perfectly" random results- most of the time while flipping a coin, you will get long streaks of heads or tails, but the 50-50 chance of things usually shows up in the number of times the pattern switches from one to the other (not a very good explanation, but deal with it). He also points out that many people allow statistical correlations to get the best of their mental processing- even New York Times reporters generalize the outcomes of experiments.

So, this brought me to the meaning of life. If I generally believe in evolution (the adaptation of animals to fit their environments or something along those lines) even in the slightest sense, then would it truly be a statistical miracle that humans developed such higher mental capacities? Perhaps we are not able to see the bigger picture that this could be a purely logical, random occurence of nature. Perhaps we invest in a supreme being and religion much in the same way that people identify with changes in the weather that "cause" their arthritis to "act up". Perhaps, given enough of a timeline, anything could happen.

"For your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there. But I wouldn't hold my breath."


Friday, September 10, 2004

Time.

Is time a man-made object? Is it really, as my high school history teacher put it, a deception by the Swiss just to sell their watches?

Nearly all cultures express time through their languages- if not with direct words for "yesterday," "today," or "tomorrow" then with concepts such as tense or mood, which describe things that have happened continuously in the past, are still happening know, or have yet to happen. For centuries, man has established lunar and solar calenders to map the progress of the Earth going about the sun. But even now, our calenders are not precisely correct ("there is a leap year every year divisible by four except for years which are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400")... so is it justified to split the natural behavior of our planet in the universe into well-proportioned segments of days, weeks, months, years, etc.? Time runs the modern world- deadlines, meetings, appointments... it has been used to measure the "pace of a society" in psychology (from my textbook, Psychology by David G. Myers Seventh Edition, copyright 2004- Page 30 "By operationally defining pace of life as walking speed, the speed with which postal clerks completed a simple request, and the accuracy of public clocks, they [Rober Levine and Ara Norenzayan (1999)] concluded that life is fastest paced in Japan and Western Europe, and slower paced in economically less developed countries."). The basic units of time build into calculating speeds and the second is the basic unit in the SI for science. But are these seconds as physical as grams or liters? Can all of nature, including the duration from the production of a life form to its complete end of existence, be reduced to numbers? Can mathematical formulas like Fibonacci's sequence apply to everything around us and can the fate of the universe depend on such mathematics? I hope not- because I really don't like Statistics.

I'm Bored

I am bored.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Movies.

Subtitle: "Why people gotta be obnoxious?"

I just composed a witty commentary on movie-going and the social inadequacies of the average audience for movies here on-campus. I did not save my progress- I lost everything and do not have any of the big words that were included last time, nor do I have the flowing prose (varied syntax, etc.), but... I don't enjoy movies when people are commenting throughout. No one cares if you can't follow the plot, or if you have a funny thing to say. You are not in the script. Now, believe me, I've been tempted to say some witty observations during movies. However, I do not. No matter what you do though, you cannot solve the problem of the blabbermouth sitting behind you. In every situation, he wins, and you lose.

You lose.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"When We Were Young"

Due to overwhelming requests, I will start posting some of my writings. I will begin with some lyrics. This was written in an emotional adolescent stupor, but I managed to polish some of the lyrics to give it some hidden meaning.

When We Were Young

Rolling over, head over heels, with you
In fields of green all day.
I'm taking over, taking charge, gonna
Live life my own way.

When you and I were young...
Have I lost sight of whom you've become?
You were my best friend and I trusted you
Till the end.

If we were meant to be, then why'd you run away from me?
I'm sorry I burned you last night.
My curiosity has surely gotten the best of me.
And now I'm left with your sight.
TRUST IN ME.

Sprouting wings, gaining strength, I fly away- you're in dismay.
We disagree, you were content, but now I'm spent and
You're still in love with me.
I used to believe "It's better to have loved and lost,"
But I never subtracted the cost.
YOU SHOULD ACCEPT ME
As your marginal loss- no, I'm not worth the cost.

If we were meant to be, then why'd you run away from me?
I'm sorry I burned you last night.
My curiosity has surely gotten the best of me.
And now I'm left with your sight.
TRUST IN ME.

You're a casualty. Not the one for me.
You were hit by arrows. You were hit by Eros' arrows,
When you and I were young.

The idea was to create a landscape of mixed emotions and confusion. My intentions were to have the verses reflect one point of view of a relationship, and the choruses would come from the opposite member of the relationship. I produced some parallels to the story of Eros and Psyche in the song.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Alexander Hamilton

A recent biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow is my current reading. Chernow does a wonderful job of painting a vivid potrait of the founding father, who overcame many obstacles and accomplished much before even becoming the Secretary of Treasury for the United States.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

AIM as adware

AIM force-installing spyware

I was only slightly surprised to see information on this. I was very impressed that AIM had remained "free" all these years and that it reportedly had more features than AOL itself (source: roommate Matt). Now- not so impressed. Really, the article is all that is needed here... I make no other comments except that I have eradicated AIM from my machine and installed Trillian. Very sleek program, good options, reliable- it allows one to access Yahoo messenger, MSN messenger, and AIM and other servers- and it's a free download. It comes highly recommended... and while I'm at it, I should recommend Mozilla internet browser. Good Stuff.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Simple Plan

A Simple Plan: make lots of money by catering to the lowest common denominator.

Okay, I do not own one of their albums. I have only been exposed to their product on MTV and radio. It's not that they create horrible music- it is just devoid of meaning, expression, any sort of compassion for anything. The whiny voice makes me cringe every time I'm not thinking how much money they're making. During that one song, where they prance around on the roof of that house while "not being perfect" (and evidently they are hardcore for "playing" their electrical instruments in a rainstorm) there's this moment where a build-up sounds like it's going to go somewhere, it builds a bit, and then some more, and while wailing whiny voices assail our auditory channels, suddenly everything drops out. Yes, I am aware that this is an artistic technique- I am also aware that the following verse with a wussy keyboard line and equally if not super-wussy vocals pains me inside. Wait, two guitar players, a bass player, a drummer and a whiner... Where's that keyboard sound coming from? Oh...

Time for sample lyrics from Simple Plan: "Everyday is the worst day ever". "Summer plans are gone forever / I’d trade them in for dishpan water" "Nothing last for ever / I'm sorry I can't be perfect" (lyrics taken from their website, evidently their agreement in numbers for verbs isn't perfect either).

But don't just take my opinion on this matter. By all means, consult some of their greatest fans (amazon.com review of their latest CD)

Review: Five Stars i luv simple plan but not as much as gc!!!!, February 17, 2004
Reviewer: chubbyoscar (see more about me) from sacramento,ca usa
i luv this cd!if u like good charlotte then u will definetly like simple plan!my favorite song is either perfect or im just a kid!there are a lot of catchy songs on the cd,and right now i have im just a kid stuck in my head!if u dont have this cd u better go get it!

david is my favorite!he is the base player!!!
i luv joel madden more than u!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Chuck Yeager

Until I read this article, I wasn't sure Yeager was still alive. Tom Wolfe's descriptions in the novel The Right Stuff are fabulous- an American pilot who set the mold for all pilots with a southern drawl and humor, but with moxie as well. The book is definitely worth a read, and although the movie had to edit significant events out, it still did justice to the story of the developing experimental pilots who tested the limits of jets and became the first American astronauts.
With the plugs out of the way, I was a little surprised and a little disappointed to read about Chuck Yeager's current events with his new wife and feud with his children (well, three out of his four). The article portrays Yeager's (aged 81) new love interest (who, at age 45 is younger than his youngest child) as being a sketchy gold-digger (mentioning her past of issuing many small claims suits against airports and cellular telephone companies) who is manipulating Yeager's money and assets away from his family. Yeager explains that he has fully funded his children's expenses after he retired- feeling sorry for his absence during their childhood years he funneled millions of dollars to them through his company (Yeager Inc.) and through his speeches, which made from $25,000 - $50,000 each. He also has a military pension of about $85,000 a year.
I was surprised that Yeager assumed his children's lawsuits against him meant they were now his enemies although it is fairly evident that this seems to be a last-ditched effort from his family to show what this new woman is doing to their inheritance- and their father. I was also surprised that even Yeager's closet friends did not agree with his new mate. Then, I was a little disappointed in Yeager's actions (after only 2 weeks, she moved in with him and in the article it says that she was the main reason Yeager's speech payments went up to $50,000- double the previous amount, although I'm sure he didn't "need" the money to survive).
In contrast, I do believe in the self-made man and Yeager seems to be just that. So, as I can identify with the children's concerns (though they may actually just be selfish), I also see Yeager's money as being Yeager's money. I figure $5,000,000 is enough support for his four children- and he even wants to secure the futures of his grandchildren. So the rest of his money is, well, his, I suppose.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

National Debt Rises past $7,000,000,000,000

In this article from Reuters, ("National Debt Tops $7 Trillion" by Jonathan Nicholson Wed February 18, 2004 04:13 PM ET) we see that the National Debt has climbed ever-closer to "The government debt ceiling [which] stands only a few hundred billion dollars ahead at $7.384 trillion". What does this mean? I was asking myself the same question...
"What Is the National Debt?" by Emily Yoffe (Posted Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000, at 10:38 AM PT) contains a clear description of the National Debt: "When the government spends more than it collects in taxes, it covers the shortfall by issuing debt in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds, and U.S. savings bonds. This debt is purchased by, for example, individuals, or pension funds, or foreign investors. This accumulated amount of money owed to creditors, the net public debt, is about $3.5 trillion. This is what almost everyone is talking about when they refer to the national debt. But right now the total national debt is about $5.67 trillion." (She continues to explain that the difference between the net public debt- $3.5 trillion as of 2000, and the National Debt- the $5.67 trillion, represents the money that the government owes to itself.

If seeing that the National debt has risen more than $1 trillion during Bush's term isn't surprising enough, Bush has predicted that America will have 2.6 million new jobs by the end of 2004 (according to an article in the New York times "Bush Officials Offer Cautions on White house jobs Forecast" by Edmund L. Andrews, Wed Feb 18 2004, section A14)- mostly by paying hundreds of millions of dollars toward new programs. The surprising part is that his Secretary of Treasury, John W. Snow, is "distanc[ing] himself" from the official figures in the administration's predictions (according to the aforementioned NY Times article). Andrews writes that Bush is "on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to end his first term with fewer jobs than when he started. The nation has lost about 2.5 million jobs in the last three years". But it will work out- because the Bush administration has predicted a growth of 2.6 million jobs, right? Well, in order to accomplish this, the rate of jobs created per month this year (which is now about 100,000 a month) would have to more than double to over 230,000 a month and stay at that figure for each month in the rest of this year until January.

Online Magazine

New York Times Wednesday, February 18, 2004 (B1).
Online Magazine Removes Cultural Blinders
Link: Words without Borders

According to this article, (referencing a 1999 report from the National Endowment for the Arts) "3 percent of the books published in the United States were translations, compared with 40 to 50 percent in Western European countries."
This subject interested me, as I've never considered it before. The article mainly discusses Alane Salierno Mason, the founder of "Words without Borders," and her inspiration (which stemmed from the generalizations following September 11th, 2001) for making foreign works available in English. She has collaborated with several translators and editors to bring her website and project into realization. You should check it out (linked above) and read at least one article, poem, or section of prose listed there.