Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

29 February, 2004


Gaming went well. At the end, my cleric stood alone against a nasty 13' tall creature with 2 heads. So I cast Bull's Strength on myself and killed it. A proud moment for Severus. The creature had a wand and a gold ring so I snagged them both as my comrades lay there bleeding.
|| Palmer, 10:30 PM || link || (0) comments |
The Conversation Continues

Peter: Honesty Felicia, you don't want to hear the story. It's not very exciting and doesn't make much sense - even to me.

Felicia: Hey, you brought it up.

P: OK, OK. Let me ask you a question: What do you think human nature is?

F: What's this got to do with your story?

P: Quite a bit, actually. I'm trying to make it interesting and give context - humor me.

F: I'm not quite sure what you mean by "human nature"...

P: Well, when a person is born, do you think there's some kind of programming in place? Instincts?

F: I think there's some, yes.

P: Like what?

F: Well, like the instinct to suckle, to recognize the faces of our mother - stuff like that.

P: What about other things that are, perhaps, not related to the absolute necessities in life like nourishment. Do you think people are born with a certain disposition? Exempli gratia, are some white children born to dislike non-whites?

F: No, I think that is something people learn. Like language. No one is born knowing one but they can be taught.

P: So, what you're saying is is that people don't have specific traits built-in but rather that they have the ability to acquire them...?

F: Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I mean, isn't it obvious?

P: Well, you'd think so but it hasn't always been viewed that way.

F: Why not?

P: Take for instance, the premises that our country was founded upon. Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by liberalism when they wrote the Constitution...

F: You mean they were liberals?

P: No, I mean they were influenced by classical liberalism which today is closest to libertarianism. And the earliest thinkers who contributed to liberalism were people like Thomas Hobbies, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. They all espoused a variation of social contract theory...

F: You're losing me here. What's this got to do with human nature?

P: Patience, Grasshopper. Anyway, social contract theory is predicated on a certain view of human nature. For Hobbes, this was that men are basically beasts. He refers to the "state of nature" in which the life of men was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." In other words, without the structure and authority of society, people's true nature comes out - we'd go around stealing, killing, raping, pillaging and such. Capitalism is similar in that it takes for granted that people work in their own self-interest. Locke and Rousseau had a more positive spin on things. For them, the state of nature was different and more positive: we are naturally reasonable creatures. And so freedom and its preservation were paramount as was the idea that governments are not trustworthy, that the power lies with individuals who are tolerant and reasonable in a state of nature because they pursue a set of natural laws given to use by God. Since everyone is free to pursue "life, health, liberty, and possessions", they need a mechanism - contracts. Thusly the role of government is minimal. It's there merely to maintain freedom and to uphold contracts between free people who enter into them of their own volition and with an understanding of the elements of the exchange and the ramifications. For Locke, a gevernment is not there to encourage specific behaviors via any kind of paternalism. This idea lead to the idea of laissez faire capitalism. Add in some utilitarianism and a world in which people enter into contracts for things which they cannot understand and things get complicated.

F: I understand that - but isn't it true? Don't people look out only for themselves? Don't people take advantage of each other if given the opportunity? History is full of wars, and plots and murders - not only was our country founded upon the ideas of liberalism, but also the genocide of the Native Americans.

P: True, quite true. There's no doubt that people have been, are, and will be extremely cruel to one another. But, is this the only behavior, the only attitude that we are known to exhibit? I mean, have you killed anyone? Do you hate everyone you pass on the street?

F: Well, no, of course not.

P: So, why is that? Why are there countless instances of people not plotting against their neighbors, of people giving their lives in war for their country, and the like?

F: As for your first question - people fear punishment. In the second example, they do it for the greater good.

P: But why should a bunch of self-interested people care about the greater good? By definition, they're only out for themselves.

F: Well, for the safety of their families and friends.

P: Ahh...so people do sacrifice themselves for others.

F: Sometimes.

P: Sometimes. Don't people help out their friends and family? Don't we do things for those we care about without expecting something in return?

F: Yeah.

P: Don't people also donate money to charities? Do volunteer work? Help old ladies across the street? Don't we do things for strangers as well?

F: I suppose we do.

P: Don't people voluntarily live in cities? Is everyone rushing out to live in some shack out in the woods like the Unabomber? What do these bahaviors tell us about ourselves?

F: I'm not sure...

P: To me, when I look around, I certainly see lots of bad things. But I also see lots of endeavors - and some of them very complicated, very intricate - which are dedicated to being and bonding with other human beings. I mean, don't you long to find a man with whom you can not only be physically intimate but also someone to whom you can just talk with, confide in? Just someone to be yourself in front of?

F: Of course. Eveyone wants that, I think.

P: Then, in my opinion, that too is part of our nature. We need relationships of all kinds in our lives in addition to all the wars and greed, etc. Human nature is very complicated and can't be reduced, at least not on a practical level, to mere self-interest. Yet so much of our society is built around that principle.

F: So, where does human nature come from? Our genes?

P: This is where Locke comes back into play. He thought that the human mind was blank at birth - a talba rasa - and thusly people learn everything via their senses. But Locke was wrong. So, yes, it seems that we humans have a built-in nature given to us by our genes. But this doesn't make things any simpler.

F: Why not? Can't we just find out what gene does what?

P: Well, no. But even if we could, what then? There doesn't seem to be a greediness gene or any such thing like that. Except for things like hair color, it seems there are very few one-to-one correlations between genes and various effects. Genes work in concert with one another and it also seems that the environment can trigger them as well.

F: So it's not nature vs. nurture but nature and nurture.

P: Most definitely. Man is neither wholly beastly nor wholly reasonable. We have come out of the womb with quite a lot of instincts already there. We have a halo and a pair of horns.

F: So how are we to deal with the our evil sides? With all the wars and injustices? I mean, if they're part of us just as the kinder, gentler parts of ourselves?

P: I think that part of the issue that we are creatures of proximity.

F: What?

P: I mean our greatest sympathies lie with those closest to us. We are most willing to make sacrifices and give of ourselves to our family and friends and then, as people are further from our lives, the willingness diminishes. Perhaps, from the people in our everyday lives, you might go to your community next - those who lives in close proximity to you. Then your town or city. Then state and your country and so on. Thusly, I think that, if we are to move towards a world that is more peaceful and more just, we must figure out a way to make our societies, our institutions expect people to behave in more cooperative ways and make it reward such behavior. It seems that we expect the worst of people and create mechanisms to react to it rather than those which are proactive in encouraging better behavior.

F: And how do we do that?

P: Good question but I don't have an answer. No social engineer and I. But I think we have enough knowledge now to at least think about the proposition in the proper manner. Do you have any idea who you are yet?
|| Palmer, 1:29 PM || link || (0) comments |
Lover's Leap

I've been so far from here,
Far from your warm arms.
It's good to feel you again,
It's been a long long time, such a long long time.
Hasn't it?

Happy Leap Year!

So far, I've applied for a couple jobs, imbibed not nearly enough coffee, and printed out my resume. I am highly suspicious of any company that only allows for paper applications for an IT position. It just seems...questionable...

It's nice day outside already and is set only to get nicer. I am forced to wonder why I am listening to the song "Futile".

This afternoon brings gaming. We have been absolved from catering and will instead order a za or 3. Paper resume is ready to be mailed. Shit! I forgot to sign it! Well, I can rip open the envelope and rehoolie it later. The Academy Awards are tonight. I'll be missing any parties for the occasion. Besides, these awards don't interest me much. The ones that do were handed out a couple weeks ago - the science and technology ones. Like Henrik Wann Jensen, Stephen R. Marschner and Pat Hanrahan "for their pioneering research in simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials". I guess I'm just more interested in seeing people who get rewarded for their work as opposed to some popularity contest. Yeah, that's not totally fair but, to me, best actors and actresses don't interest me. The people who innovate robotic cranes for camera to make beautiful and interesting mise en scene do. Best picture doesn't interest me either but the guy who invented the system to control all those computer-generated urakai does. Whether or not Return of the King wins doesn't mean much to me - I love the movie already. But I am keen on finding out about the newest techonologies and advancements which are going to aid, abet, and/or innovate cinema. At least those folks got to have that little hottie, Jennifer Garner, emcee the proceedings even if virtually no one gave a shit.
|| Palmer, 10:12 AM || link || (0) comments |

28 February, 2004

Oooh, Loneliness and Ben & Jerry's Is a Bad Mix


I just ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Chunk Heart Stopper. I feel so bloated - like a corpse. At least I'm not hungry anymore. And I've calmed down too. I went to a woman's house to help her with her computer and what, was described to me as a 10 minute gig turned in 4.5 hours which saw me driving back and forth between a house and a business. She said she just needed to know how to move her Quickbooks data between computers. Then I have to teach her how to burn CDs, how to register Quickbooks, and how to use this absolutely horrid service that Intuit pushes called Remote Access. What a piece of crap. But I installed it anyway because she's gonna have to call back.

On the upside, it was some decent cash and I got to draw with crayons along with one of her daughters who was extremely cute. She had two of them, actually - 2 and 3 years old, respectively - and they were both so cute! I was just standing there when one of the girls grabbed my thumb and led me a sheet of paper on the floor with a purple crayon lying next to it. So I sat down on floor and did my best to help fill in a big face before continuing with getting the PC working as it should.

Anyway, I got home much later than I expected so I've missed my chance to play trivia at Neil's Diamond. So I've stuffed myself and have completely lost my train of thought.

I think I may puke now...
|| Palmer, 7:15 PM || link || (0) comments |

27 February, 2004

Hrothgar's Hall

As Grendel leaves his mossy home beneath the stagnant mere
Along the forest path he roams to Hrothgar's hall so clear
He knows that victory is secured, his charm will testify
His claws will drip with mortal blood as moonbeams haunt the sky

I've been watching some episodes concerning Bushy, Iraq, and our foreign policy. One profiled Paul Wolfowitz and his fellow hawks such as Rummy and Cheney. I didn't know that Wolfowitz was the latest Hank Kissinger. Now I'm watching a look at whether or not the U.S. was prepared for the aftermath of our invasion of Iraq. What a clusterfuck. I can only wonder which country we'll invade next.

I think I know what's gonna happen next. Whenever I digest multiple exposes on corruption, greed, war, and so on, I go on a mean lefty streak. Usually this involves, amongst other things, is lighting the fires of various people and starting debates. Not a good way to make friends. A good way to lose some too.
|| Palmer, 6:24 PM || link || (0) comments |
States of Mind

Right now, I am intensely pissed off. Aside from any stupid drama in my own life, I have watched a few documentaries that really got under my craw. All the bureaucratic bullshit that prevented US intelligence from preventing 9/11, the crooked politicians, all the people out there getting screwed over by large corporations that do nothing but piss down our backs and tell us it's raining...I just want to punch some CEO out right how! And the majority of Congress too! And the executive branch and the judicial branch...It seems like the American populace is majestic in their stupidity.

Well, I finally got word on the job:

"The position was filled with another external applicant."

That settles that matter, at least. I am also awaiting word from another contracting company. I can only presume more bad news awaits me...signing off..
|| Palmer, 2:44 PM || link || (0) comments |
Coffee, I Love Thee - Let Me Count the Ways

OK. I'm watching this documentary about alternative medicine and it's very interesting. Then comes the scene where a doctor at some alternative hospital/clinic hoolie tells a man with pancreatic cancer that he'll need to give himself 4 coffee enemas daily with organic coffee. And the doctor says that he's been doing it for like 20 years. Coffee - is there anything it can't do?
|| Palmer, 10:21 AM || link || (0) comments |
Can I Be Late For My Cinema Show?

I spent last night watching Frontline which had a documentary about the war in Iraq. Very interesting stuff. So, I went up to pbs.org to do some reading and learn more about the program and its subject. While there, I noticed that they have some episodes archived and you can watch them online. So I watched the show called "American Porn" as Miss Pamela had seen it and told me about it. While it was interesting, it didn't tell me too much that I didn't know already. But, like I said, it was interesting to see the interviews with the makers of porn. Unfortunately, it was only an hour long and left a lot unexplored and didn't go very deeply into some of the questions it raised. Now I'm watching an episode about American children, ADHD, Ritalin, etc. I've ranted about this before so I won't go into it again but I will say how crappy Real One is. Regardless of what you have to say of Windows and Microsoft generally, Windows Media streams a lot better than Real Player. Ooh! There's an episode on alternative medicine. Considering I just finished reading a book on Chinese medicine, this seems appropriate. Of course, I'm having problems with the high quality setting. I do have a cable modem - why can I not get video? Cold boot, I guess.

I am seriously considering going to see The Passion of the Christ this afternoon. It's being shown on the Ultrascreen on the other side of town. An Ultrascreen is 3 stories tall and slightly-curved. (Technically the screen is 32' tall by 75' wide - that's 9.75 by 22.86 meters - with 8,000 watts of six-channel Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround EX sound, THX certified sound, and a picture illuminated by 7,500 watts of light.) So I can see your savior and mine suffer in mega-huge graphic glory and super-surround digital sound. I don't know about you, but I love sitting right up front at the cinema. I enjoy being engulfed by the image and having to turn my head to see the entire frame. I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey there on the Ultrascreen - probably the closest I'll ever get in my life to seeing the film in its native Cinerama format. For me, it was a liturgy. It was so fucking intense - I just got lost - and that tears welled in my eyes on a couple occasions. I'm sorry but watching these apes doing their thing while being surrounded by a massive chorus wailing loudly enough to vibrate my entire body just gets to me.

After having read reviews by Roger Ebert and A.O. Scott, I am looking forward to an intense, emotional roller coaster ride. I want it to move me in one way or another. I have a 52" television which makes watching DVDs, for me, a better experience than watching it on my 32" TV. But the cinema has a special power. It has the potential to move me in a unique way, a way that only sitting in a seat and being dwarfed by and immersed in a film can.
|| Palmer, 9:45 AM || link || (0) comments |

26 February, 2004

Woe Betide My Johns0n

Jesus! I thought I was watching PBS when I was assailed by multiple sorties of commercials so I punched the clicker to put on PBS and found that I was in fact already watching it. I feel old now because I can remember the days when there were no commercials on PBS. Unfortunately it's a boring night on Wisconsin Public Television as some Antiques Roadshow-like program is next rather than anything substantial. Well, I guess I'll watch C-SPAN as they're showing the lying, er, testimonies of various CEOs of media conglomerates before some Congressional decency council or other. There's Mr. Hogan - Howard Stern's boss - kissing major Congressional ass. It's sort of funny to see him acquiescing to a representative from Michigan in a low-angle shot. Again, the cinephile in me comes out. Mr. Hogan, no doubt, is extremely wealthy - he must be a multimillionaire several times over - and can there be much doubt that, as he and his company got rich, that they didn't think twice about the vulgar crap they put on the airwaves? Oh man! Fox's Entertainment President is there too. She is committing perjury! (OK, she's just lying.) She is sitting there feigning that she gives a flying fuck about quality programming, that she cares about any standards of decency. It's now a parade of we-will-take-it-into-serious-consideration's. My TV is absolutely bleeding sycophancy.

Here's a great subject line: "beef up the size of your johns0n!"
|| Palmer, 8:18 PM || link || (0) comments |
Dinner Looms...

After reading some reviews, Pete has decided that he would be unable to stomach a viewing of Gibson's opus so my nightly activities are cast into doubt. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing The Passion of the Christ. In fact, I've been looking forward to it since the project was announced? Now, why would an atheist such as myself be so fired up to see a decidedly pro-Catholic film? Simple. Starting at the age of 10, I took lessons in a very dead language - Latin. And this film has dialogue in Latin and I'm going because I wanna see a bunch of huge faces on a screen talking in Latin at me in Dolby Surround Stereo. It's a case of the cinephile in me conspiring with the liberal arts major on the other side of my cranium. So I think I'll go catch a matinee tomorrow.

I finished reading that book on Chinese medicine and started the first volume of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty erotic novel series thingy. After 2 chapters, I laid it down as it was horrible. I've never read her series on that vampire character so I can honestly say that my first brush with Rice's work was not good. Not that I won't ever pick up Interview With a/the Vampire, but it will be a while before I do. So, either I continue reading my book of film history or I randomly pick out something else from my shelf.

The Thin Blue Line was on this evening. What a great fucking movie. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Errol Morris is a national goddamn treasure. It is difficult for me to describe just how much I am looking forward to seeing his newest, The Fog of War. Whatever it is that I pay for digital cable is fine by me as the Independent Film Channel is a godsend.

Holy fucking Jesus Christ. Bush was just quoted as saying that a Democratic president would threaten the freedom of Americans to live their lives as they please. Now, why the commentator didn't call him a big fucking hyprocrite is beyond me. The same man who wants to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage just accused the Democrats of wanting to restrict freedom. If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black.

I am saddened to see another coup underway in Haiti and am also sad that someone would just say, "That Haiti mess is just history repeating itself." If a terrorist were to crash a plane into the White House tomorrow, would we be willing to dismiss it as merely an instance of history repeating itself? If the Germans rolled into Poland again, could we just shrug it away so glibly? I've always assumed that Santayana's maxim was an admonishment and not merely an observation.

At Ron's behest, The Caffeinatrix testified down at the Capitol today about how hospitals charge patients without insurance more than those with it. I'm sure that I'll get the skinny on her adventures tomorrow morning.

I am contemplating stopping the use of email. I have about half a dozen accounts and only 1 does not get inundated with penis enlargement and Viagra ads. I'm beginning to feel self-conscious now. As if I needed anymore logs for the fires of self-loathing.

Alright. I am going to get some dinner. Afterwards I may go on a rant about the straw men that are Howard Stern and Janet Jackson.
|| Palmer, 6:16 PM || link || (0) comments |
That Scream Inside

Nobody sees her here, her eyes are slowly closing
If she should want some peace she sits there, without moving
and puts a pillow over the phone
And if she feels like dancing, no one will know it
Giving herself a chance there's no need to show her how it should be

I've been thinking about how to continue the Conversation from previous entries. A couple ideas popped into my head yesterday but they just don't want to blend together in a manner approaching seemlessly. Honestly, I think it's going to get a bit odder.

I ran a couple errands today and stopped in at CZ for the first time in a while. Some new faces there. I also stopped in at Toad Hill and found The Caffeinatrix to be feeling much better. Her illness had abated and she was her normal, perky self. I gave her an update on the job which made her happy. At least someone is happy about it.

I think that my state of mind is, in large part, a reflection of those around me. It's like I absorb the feelings of my friends via osmosis and make them my own. While The Caffeinatrix normally has a cheerful disposition, I can see the stress weighing on her, I can feel a certain sadness that bubbles just below her smiles. Pete has been making Stevie irritable for months now and Pete has, in addition to forcing my financial hand, been irritating me was well for a few months. While it's been years since I've seen Mel so happy, there's something about fatherhood that isn't sitting well with Dogger. When he holds Regan, he becomes very quiet, very pensive. I'm not exactly sure what it is but, when I consider some things he says, things he does, it seems like he's pretty ambivalent about being a father. I know that he loves his daughter but he stills seems to be in a fog of shock about the whole thing. But I also know that he'll adjust soon enough, that the changes will settle in and he'll be a slightly different person - a friend as well as a father. JimmyD has been a bit pissed off lately as his sister was recently fired from her job after 6 years and, from what I've been told, by no fault of her own other than not playing office politics. She is a single mother of 3 and it obviously makes her life more difficult exponentially. Jolene was told by her employer at a health club that wages were going to be cut by 50% so she quit. I know of the problems that Ron is having with his daughter. Geno is doing OK but he's still dealing with the death of his father. Jeffrey's fate at his job is unknown, he faces a large debt, and he's bascially in a state of limbo.

None of this is to say that everyone's lives are for shite or that I don't have friends whose lives are going pretty well. It's more the case that when something is lacking in my own life, my mind focuses on the same in the lives of others. It's a vicious circle but one spirals out of it eventually.

I watched the movie Afflictions last night. It stars Nick Nolte as a small town cop whose life suffers from his father's abuse, mental & physical. Willen DaFoe plays his brother and Sissy Spacek his lover. Finally, James Coburn plays his father. It's not a happy story, by any means, with Nolte's character divorced and struggling to connect with his daughter. Then his mother dies and he's forced to deal with his father again. It was a good movie but I'm not sure why DaFoe's character narrated when he was so minor. It seemed like some important scenes ended up on the editing room floor. But, because of my own relationship with my father, such films interest me. I try to glean the perspectives of others - try to find new points of view. At the end of the film - and stop reading if you don't want to know - Nolte accidentally kills his father and burns his body. It was, in an odd way, cathartic for me to watch and it sent my mind off on a course of contemplation - how will I feel when my old man kicks the bucket? Will I feel more of a sense of sadness and loss or relief?

I am looking at going to see The Passion of the Christ tonight as Pete called earlier about it. Honestly, I'm not really in the mood to be social with him. Though I do feel the urge to be social.

You know, watching the news isn't helping any. Haiti and bugging at the UN...

She can't remember now when she was all in pieces
she's quite content to sit there listening to what he says
how he didn't like to be alone
And if he feels like crying she's there to hear him
no reason to complain and nothing to fear, they always will be
|| Palmer, 1:48 PM || link || (0) comments |

25 February, 2004

Here I Go Again...

I woke up this morning a little after 7 from a very intense dream. So intense, that I didn't know where I was upon regaining consciousness. But the sight of my bedroom quickly jolted my memory. Then I felt my headache and wondered why I should feel so crappy first thing in the morning. Slowly it dawned on me that I had been out drinking last night. What I thought would be a couple hours of beer and chat ended up being a soiree that lasted until 1:30 in the morning. Not too late, I realize but it gave me time to drink enough gin & tonic to give me a hangover.

So I got up, futzed around for a bit and contemplated my aching head before heading over to Toad Hill. For fixing his son's computer, Ron had given me $30 worth of gift certificates so my coffee and almond croissant hoolie cost me nothing. I shot the shit with JimmyD for a while and read the NYT review of The Passion of the Christ. From there it was off to the post office where I mailed a couple CDs.

For no particularly good reason, I'm am pissed off about this whole amend-the-Constitution-to-outlaw-gay-marriage rigamarole. That ass nugget, Rick Santorum was on TV yesterday spewing his now customary homophobic analogies of only the poorest quality. Last summer when the Supreme Court struck down the various anti-sodomy laws here, Santorum expressed his displeasure and compared homosexual relations to paedophilia and bestiality. Now he's shooting his mouth off and saying that marriage is more than an affirmation of love. If that's all it was, then parents and children would be getting married and other assinine examples. I just love how he seems to view everything as an extreme. If a certain behavior deviates from his moral precepts then it's equivalent to the most taboo behaviors we have. For Santorum, everything he disapproves of is tantamount to incest. The guy seems preoccupied with it in the most disturbing way. His inability to see that human behavior is not black & white and is a broad spectrum makes him particularly ignorant and unsettlingly single-minded. He and others who have littered the airwaves the past couple days are perhaps best described by Mark Twain - each appears "a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg that looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity." (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, eh?)

Dubya went on the air and said some hoo-ha about marriage being the foundation of society and that this was demonstrated over the course of the life of our country and millennia of human civilization. Firstly, I want Bushy to stop spouting such poopy pieties and to prove it. If he's going to make such a sweeping statement, I demand proof. Everything I've read about civilization point to agriculture, not marriage, as its foundation. The Fertile Crescent didn't give rise to the first societies because the clime was conducive to marriage, but rather to growing crops. And it is not a stretch to say that this country was founded upon slavery and resentment of a monarchy taxing tea.

Have heterosexual marriages ever been important? Of course. But no politician out there makes a good case, to my mind, and some of them don't even bother to make a case period that recognizing gay marriages would have an adverse effect. Things change, Dubya. Perhaps if he'd read some history, he'd understand that this whole notion of romantic love, as it'd codified in our society, is a relatively recent invention. Remember back in the Middle Ages when marriage was important? It was important that girls be married against their will to unite families and consolidate their wealth and resources. And, lest we forget, to have male offspring. I'm sorry, I just don't see any connection between gay marriage and a decline in heterosexual marriage.

I can understand a concern for our population. If you factor out immigration, the US's growth rate is near 0. For whatever reasons, people are having less kids. And so I can understand a concern over this as we will need people to do the things that keep our society going and growing. But how is this problem an effect of homosexuality or how can it be exacerbated by gay marriage? It's not like allowing gay marriage will prevent het marriages. Again, I just can't see where the threat lies.

I got into a weeks-long debate on this issue at a forum last summer when the Supreme Court handed down their ruling on sodomy laws. Some upper class yuppie kinda guy was opposed to it and he and I went back and forth daily. In my opinion, he was just homophobic so he disguised it by saying that the SC should have just stayed out of it and let Congress do their magic. In the course of our debate, I found some very disturbing information on Justice Scalia. While he is intelligent and well-versed in matters judiciary, his religous fervor scares me. I read this speech he gave to some Catholic organization in Chicago. His screed had all the fervor of the Spanish Inquisition and I could picture him in Torquemada's robes. If Christians are going to use the Bible in denouncing homosexuality, then I want them to start treating women like shit and the like and to use the Bible as justification. Be consistent. If Genesis says that Lamech became the first polygamist, then no Christian should be promoting monogamy. If the book of Deuteronomy says that virgin woman who are raped must marry their attackers, then every Xtian must start promoting this. Why are they not out there protesting the jailing of some rapists claiming that they oughta be in the churches tying the knot? Why are Christians not out stoning brides who are not virgins? Be consistent. How the hell can anyone plan a life if the rules are seemingly picked at random? Don't justify something by saying "it's in the Bible" but not disclose which bits of the Bible are to be chosen while others are not. Thus is the Rule of Law, another contender for the "foundation of society". Laws should be uniform, consistent, and applied equally.

Another person that got in my craw last night was Newt Gingrich. He is now a contributing nutcase to Faux News. His comments which really pissed me off yesterday concerned the media. Newt was bitching about violence in the media as well as incest and blah blah blah. I was laughing at him until he named Natural Born Killers which incensed me. If you don't like the film, that's fine. Hell, if you hate Oliver Stone generally, that's fine too. But I will defend him to the end. Not that I agree with every opinion that he holds, but pundits seem to take only cheap shots at him. Newt's comment made me realize the intense hypocrisy of his comments. While I certainly don't deny that popular culture has more than its share of violence and vulgarity, I don't see incest everywhere like Newt apparently does. Maybe he's hanging around with Rick Santorum or something.

But to decry it in popular culture is hypocritical. As has already been pointed out, the Bible is full of violence and incest. The Iliad and The Odyessey - "high culture" too is full of sex and violence and drug use and all the stuff Gingrich complained about. Such things are the concerns of people generally, not just Hollywood script writers. I don't hear Newt asking for the Old Testament to be banned. The problem I have with a lot of conservative critiques of various artifacts of popular culture is that it seems like they either haven't actually seen or heard the show or song they criticize or they approach it one way and close themselves off to ambiguities and uncertainties. This song means that and only that because it is how I interpret it. I interpret something one way thusly everyone will do so. And so on.

Jeffrey called. He is contemplating quitting his job as well as a move back here to Madison. I told him that I still don't know if I got the job in Chicago or not. So, keeping in line with his currect preoccupation with quantum physics, he said that in one universe I got the job. (This relates to the mulit-universe interpretation of quantum mechanics.) Anyway, I think I managed to cheer him up a bit and even threw some job opportunities here in town at him. He has a Master's degree in molecular something-or-other and Madison has several biomedical firms. But he is really keen on getting an Associate's degree in fine arts or something similar as he wants to become a photographer. Many decisions to make.

Last night was fun. I got to meet Dave and we swapped some bootlegs - I got a 1992 Jethro Tull show and the demos for Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe's second album which was never finished. Plus I met a few of Ron's other co-workers and some of his present and former students. I didn't know that he taught social work until last night. And, unsurprisingly, most of his students are women. And a few of them were hotties too. They were mostly keen on talking shop, though, and weren't really interested in chatting with this stranger in the group. The blonde was an exception, though. She was funny. I listened mostly as I know very little of their work environment and even less about their profession. It would be kind of a shame to move as my friendship with Ron grows and a couple other people there indicated that I passed muster and would have to join them on other occasions for merriment.

I just send Jeff a link to a site where he can find criticism of that book on quantum evolution that he recommended to me. Now, he's going to find some criticism of Gould and his flavor of evolution for. One thing I'm keen on finding more about is the presence of xenoestrogens and psychoactive drugs like Prozac in the water supply. Apparently such things do not break down very swiftly so we may be imbibing them at every turn. Thusly sperm counts are dropping and we're becoming a nation of artifically happy and lethargic people or whatever it is that Prozac does to you.

Well, I think I'll do some research into adding an amendment to the Constitution that forces politicians to be honest and make thought-out, rational arguments.
|| Palmer, 3:08 PM || link || (0) comments |

24 February, 2004

Stuck in the Waiting Room

Now that I've had dinner, things are a bit better. I'll be heading out to the Crystal Corner around 9 to meet up with Dave and Ron. Ron's wife and son stopped by a little while ago to pick up the computer - I hope that I put all the wires back in their correct spots or the kid's not gonna have sound. Ron said that he'd bought me $30 worth of Toad Hill gift certificates for my troubles. So, free coffee for moi tomorrow!

I'm really digging these new tunes by Onkel Fish. "Old Crow" is just a bouncy little tune while "Moving Targets" reminds me of Billy Breathes era Phish with the piano and the rolling drum fills. But it's "The Field" which has really got me. There's just this thing to it, this vibe. For me, it's a very emotional song. The vocal are imbued with this sense of fatalism. Not despair, just this resignation. And the slide guitar - it cuts into me. The song has brought tears to my eyes.

I take the field in honest battle,
My father's sword is sure in hand,
My heart my shield, my dreams my armour,
My banners high my hopes are gathered
Fortunes home I'll surely carry and the bells will ring in honour of my name

Should I falter, should I tarry, should I hesitate, should I fall,
Then bury me in your memories, let our children hear the bugle call

That fucking slide guitar is getting to me. Just like with "Sunsets on Empire". I feel a really sappy, pensive mood coming on...good time to stop.
|| Palmer, 5:06 PM || link || (0) comments |
Ain't No CMOS Gonna Stop Me!

Well, that computer put up a wee fight but it couldn't defeat me. I swapped out video cards (AGP & PCI) to no avail. Since the power switch was acting funkily, I decided to wipe the CMOS and rehoolie it. Needless to say, I proved victorious. So I think I'm gonna meet Ron and Dave out for a few brews tonight so I can drop off the PC, meet Dave, and give him a couple Jethro Tull shows. Plus Ron indicated that there will probably be a couple hot, intellectual women there.

I have finished bailing Pete's ass (and thusly my own) out of a sticky financial situation. I got home after handing over $1000 to find that he was eating my leftovers. I told him that I had paid the bill and all he could do was shrug and say, "OK." Obviously owing a friend a grand is no concern of his.

On the job front, I finally got a hold of the recruiter only to be told that the hiring manager still hasn't made up his mind but I am on the short list of 2 people. Supposedly he'll know by close of business today, which is in 2.5 hours. Right now, I need to run to the post office and mail some CDs. There's an irate guy in the Netherlands that is expecting some tunes from me. Plus a couple of the discs are for 2 of you folks. I plan on burning more later.

Right now, I just feel stressed out. All I want is to know whether I got this job or not. Not only will my immediate future become clearer but also the rest of this week. I've got 3 people asking me to commit to social activities in the coming days and I can't until I know if I'm to start packing or hit the drawing board again. I need a massage. If my shoulders get any more tense, I won't be able to move my arms.

OK, I'm off to the post office...
|| Palmer, 2:43 PM || link || (0) comments |
Oh, AGP Slot, Why Hast Thou Abandoned Me?

I feel...on edge...

Well, in about half an hour, I can call an Irish expatriate and discover my fate. Either I start packing today or the hunt continues.

Much to my delight, the Monty Python movie And Now For Something Completely Different was on this morning and I caught the sketch in which the Hungarian goes into the tobacconist shop before heading to Toad Hill. I step inside and find that The Caffeinatrix, despite being ill, is there and is busy serving a couple other customers. So I'm standing in line right in front of the display case which she is digging in looking for a scone. I wanted to say good morning but she avoided all eye contact. Finally, she looks at me and just starts laughing. Being miffed, I grab the arts section of the New York Times and read it until the other customers have been dispatched. The Caffeinatrix then tells me that she had a dream involving me last night and that it was weird. So I tell her in a Hungarian accent, "Do you want to come back to my place - bouncy, bouncy?!?"

So she relates the dream to me: I lived in a loft in Chicago - one of those where you take a freight elevator to the apartment. The Caffeinatrix had come over and we just sat around chatting as good friends do. I thought that there must have been more and asked if, at the end of the dream, she defenestrated me or some such thing but she said no.

After hearing of her adventures last night, we continued to shoot the shit. She's still sick, though better than she has been the past couple days. We then began talking about being ill in general and I told her that the last time I called in sick to work when I had a genuine problem was not due to illness but, in fact, due to having contracted crabs. (You know, pubic lice.) I did the walk of shame down to the drug store and bought some Rid shampoo to get rid of them. The Caffeinatrix then related a tale in which a boyfriend type character tried to get her to shave her pubic hair by claiming he had crabs when he really did not. But she was young and did so anyway. She proceeded to tell me that she find the idea of shaving her pubes to be distasteful - it make her "feel like a little girl" or something similar. Some guys are just goofy.

Ron stopped in while I was there and he joined the chat. He and his son came over last night and dropped off the busted computer so I've gotta get on that this morning. We discussed meeting up with his friend Dave some time this week so I've gotta get my arse to a store and buy some blank CD-Rs and padded envelopes for a few of you here. Both Ron and The Caffeinatrix told me that I cannot move and that I didn't get the job so not to bother even calling. Then Ron, who lived in Chicago for a while, said that his wife used to work at the place where I interviewed and that she worked with Robbie Fulks who was a paralegal there.

What else? I must also go to the credit union, mail a couple things, and call someone about paying off Pete's debt.

Well, I'm off to see what's up with this computer...
|| Palmer, 8:16 AM || link || (0) comments |

23 February, 2004

The Conversation Continues

P: ...It's huge - bigger than anything here on Earth.

F: OK.

P: Now imagine that it is surrounded by landscape on all sides of varying types. One area is a desert, another a tundra, another a temperate clime, and so on.

F: Are you saying life is like the weather?

P: No, no. So you've got this terrain - this mountain and the areas at its base. Now, the top of the mountain is the goal - happiness. And paths of various types lead up the side of the mountain.

F: Alright, I can picture this mountain of yours.

P: You have people living in the various areas. They do what everyone does: eat, sleep, dream, do the nasty...and seek happiness. So they all want to reach the summit of that mountain but, in order to do so, they must first traverse the land in which they live. Desert people must roam across vast stretches of sand and contend with drought; people living in cold areas must trudge through snow and struggle to keep themselves warm and so forth. And this only gets them to base of the mountain. From there, they must make the difficult, hazardous climb up to the top.

F: Big whoop. So people each have their own way of finding happiness...

P: Yeah, it's kind of lousy analogy, isn't it? Look at what it does illustrate: people find happiness in different ways as their lives are unique in many ways - life in the forest is different than life in the desert. But there's similarity too as everyone has to climb the mountain. And climbing the mountain - finding happiness - is not easy, it's a struggle. As Aristotle said, happiness comes through "study and care" and not by chance.

F: I thought you said that those books didn't help...?

P: Well, hindsight is 20/20. Besides, quoting Aristotle is a good way to fool people into thinking you're smart.

F: Look, I see what you're saying but it doesn't really help me. It doesn't tell me how to be happy - just some allegory about how hard it is for people to find happiness. I still feel that there really is no purpose to live. I think all living organisms on this planet have it built into them the need to survive and copulate no matter what. So as humans we've created religion, destiny, need, desire, wealth, and all these other things that are supposed to give reason to life. But at times I'm aware that whether or not any of my dreams are fulfilled is irrelevant in the scheme of things. They're just there to give my brain something to focus on so I keep existing.

P: Felicia, either you've missed my point or I haven't made it very well. Remember what I said about my having read all those books and not finding an answer? I can't give you an answer - only way to think about things because, as with the mountain, finding happiness is not exactly the same for everyone. And think about what you just told me. What is this "scheme of things"? Do you really care if you end up in some history book? And do you honestly believe that needs and desires are just things people invented thousands of years ago?

F: Well, no, but they're just byproducts, they're ways of finding a mate. It's our genes' way of getting the best possible person to have offspring with.

P: In a certain sense, I agree with you. But I think what you're doing is confusing what are called proximate and ultimate causes. Your genes aren't doing these cost-beneift analyses like Alan Greenspan inside of your body. Saying that such things are the result of our genes selecting this over that is misleading. Our genes "do" such things or have that behavior only when viewed in the grand scheme of things, as you like to say, over a long, long period of time. Our passions, our needs and desires - they're real and they're genuine and they're immediate. Your genes and mine, they don't sit around plotting Machiavellian schemes. Instead you and I, we sit around thinking about love, friendship, and so on.

F: So...

P: Someone once said that those who care about legislation and sausages should not see them being made. The same goes for our emotions. While amoral and uncaring genes may ultimately be responsible for things, it is the proximate, the nearer causes that concern us. "What can I do to make myself happy?", "Who can I love?", and the like.

F: So you're saying that the things that are important to me are that way because they're important to me.

P: Hey, nice tautology! Yes, that's what I'm saying. Your passions and desires are important because they're what colors your life, gives it meaning, and makes you happy.

F: So, what happened to you? What happened after you read all those philosophers and got nothing out of them?

P: Oh, it's a boring story and I don't want to bore you.

F: Bore me.
|| Palmer, 11:26 PM || link || (0) comments |
Ha Ha, Mr. Everson

My bootlegs arrived in the mail today. For those who can't recall, I received The Alternate Revovler by The Beatles and a collection of demos for The Wall by Pink Floyd. I'm listening to the Revolver disc now. Not only is it cool in its own right with all these alternate mixes and such, but it reminds me what a fucking killer album the original is. Even Paul McCartney's songs aren't too annoying. Plus "Good Day Sunshine" and "Got To Get You Into My Life" are awesome. And there's two, two mixes of "Tomorrow Never Knows"! George Martin must have gotten more than 1 headache from trying to piece that one together - all the backward tape noises and trying to get John Lennon's voice right. Then again, he must have known something was going to happen with "Rain", as, if I remember correctly, it was the first song on which backwards sound effects were used. (Now, there's a trivia question.) Or was it merely that "Rain" was the first song released that had the effects bug not recorded first? I'll have to consult the manual.

Just talked to Ron - his son's PC is having problems so he's gonna drop it off in an hour or so. Nothing appears on monitor when starting. It was working OK previously and then he got the message "changing aperture size" so the AGP slot's aperture size was changed for some reason. Hi ho, hi ho, it's into the CMOS I go.

Oooh! "Tomorrow Never Knows" just came on!

Turn off your mind
relax and float downstream

Have you ever heard Phil Collins' version of this song? Fucking classic! He slowed it down a bit, made it more "personal", more melancholy. There's another album I have to buy - Face Value. "Hand in Hand", "Drowned" - probably his best solo album.

Jeffrey emailed me asking if I was going to be around the next couple weekends. Either he really needs to discuss his quantum/Gödel/computing ideas or that shit that was going down in Minneapolis last month continues. Or both.

The unnews on my job interview is that I have to call the recruiter tomorrow. I take it from the message that I am a no go. Back to the drawing board.

And now I see that Chet is trying to track me down. I presume it has something to do with the trivia contest this weekend.

Right now I feel like shit. I remember more of the dream. It had a sequence involving me at a Marillion concert. It was before the show was to start and people were filing in and finding their seats. Some woman a few seats down from me was complaining about something which prompted me to make some remarks to her which I cannot recall.

Thinking about writing about happiness is weighing on my mind. Deep subject, cloudy mind.

It's funny - I'm listening to a live version of "Paperback Writer" from 29th August 1966 - Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA. Vast throngs of women in the stands are doing nothing but screaming. I swear to Christ. How could they even hear the music? I bet they couldn't talk for days after the show. Ah, throngs of young nubile women melting at the very sight of you...
|| Palmer, 7:58 PM || link || (0) comments |
A Conversation

It is a cold, dark night. Peter sits at home alone reading a book when he hears a knock at the door.

Peter: Felicia? Come in! Come in! You're shivering!

Felicia: Thank you. Brrr...

P: What are you doing out wandering at this late hour?

F: I went out for a walk so I could think a little and try to clear my head. It didn't work and I realized I was in your neighborhood so I decided to stop in and talk to you. I'm not bugging you, am I?

P: Of course not! Here, let me take your coat. Please, sit down by the fire and warm yourself.

F: Thank you.

P: Now, what was it you wished to speak to me about?

F: I...I need to know the answer to a question.

P: What question is that?

F: "Who am I?"

P: Why you're Felicia, of course.

F: I know, but who is Felicia?

P: Are you OK, my dear?

F: Sometimes...sometimes I need someone to tell all my secrets to and not be judged. But I suppose they're too dull and boring to confess to you. I'm sorry, I don't want to bore you. I should go...

P: No, no - don't be silly. What's wrong?

F: I don't know. I just feel like...like I don't know what to feel. Nothing in my life seems to be going right. A mediocre job. I want to go to college but can't. And I feel so alone, at times. I want to be learning, to be living and to have someone hold me when I need that too. I'm tired of a dull life and having no purpose. I'm tired of thinking too much. I'm tired of wanting things I'm not really sure I want. I want adventure and someone to share it with.

P: Ah...I think I am beginning to understand your dilemma - a bout with existential angst. Are you going to ask me what the meaning of life is next?

F: Ha ha. But tell me the meaning of life anyway. I think I'm beyond all help.

P: Now, don't say that. Let me try and answer the easy question first.

F: Which one? Why my life is so dull?

P: No, the meaning of life.

F: Jesus, if you think that one's easy...

P: You know, I once felt as you do.

F: Really?

P: Of course! Everyone asks big questions. Everyone feels that way at some time.

F: Well how did you get over it?

P: I don't know - it just happened of its own accord.

F: How?

P: If I remember correctly, the first thing I did was to read various things written by philosophers and bits from the texts of the great religions - Plato, Kierkegaard, Descartes, Chuang Tzu, the Bible...

F: Did they help?

P: No, not one bit. I didn't read them correctly, you see.

F: What do you mean?

P: Have you ever seen a commerical for a movie and thought that it looked good? And then you pay your money to see it and it's nothing like the commercial? And you didn't like it at all?

F: Yes - more times than I can count.

P: Think of it that way then. All those great thinkers and all those ideas - none of them seemed to speak to me and my life. They just seemed to give me more questions to ask. I read them expecting to be presented with answers that I could then use. But there were none. Only ideas - ways to look at the problems. Men and women have been asking the same questions since time immemorial yet there's no right answer.

F: Oh, I feel muuuch better now.

P: Well, you haven't let me finish, Ms. Sarcasm. I suppose if you believe in a god then the meaning of life is laid out before you because you'll have some text to tell you what it is and you are left to merely follow a prescribed course. So for a Christian, let's say, the meaning of life is to get into Heaven. Thusly, Christians try to live lives according the standards of good delineated in the Bible so they can pass through the pearly gates with a clean bill of spiritual health from Saint Peter.

F: But I thought you were an atheist...?

P: I am.

F: So...I don't understand.

P: I was asking the wrong question. The question "Why don't monkeys fly out of my butt?" is legitimate only if monkeys do that, if they have the property of flying and flying out of the anuses of their fellow simians.

F: Now you're getting gross.

P: Sorry. But it's one of those phrases I find funny and captures the essence of my point. Monkey don't do that sort of thing so the question is irrelevant. There is no meaning to life because this presupposes a being that created life with some plan in mind that is opaque to we mortals and that this being expects us to puzzle it out. Asking what the meaning of life is assumes that there is a meaning to be had. But why must there be one? How can there be one if there is no supernatural entity, no external force to give meaning?

F: I think I see what you're saying...

P: The question shouldn't be "What is the meaning to life?" but rather "How can I give my life meaning?" or "How can I be happy?".

F: Alright. I see what you're getting at. So, when you figured out that you were asking the wrong question, did you find happiness?

P: Oh, heavens no.

F: So even if I change the question, I still won't feel happy. How can I be happy?

P: Now, that is a very tough question. When I started asking the right questions, it was just a beginning. But I didn't look under my nose. That came later. Now, imagine a very tall mountain...
|| Palmer, 1:32 PM || link || (0) comments |
Partial Oneiric Recollection

I had this dream last night which, upon waking, put me in an odd mood. Rather grumpy, truth be known.

I was at a school Don't remember if I was a student or a teacher or what. In the dream, I am traversing the halls, wandering through classes and an ex-girlfriend keeps coming up to me asking to have some of my time to talk. For some reason, I think she was trying to sell something as she was carring a box around with her. And, each time she approaches me, I tell her to fuck off and leave me alone. Just when I think I've lost her or she's given up, she returns, she keeps pestering me...
|| Palmer, 10:02 AM || link || (0) comments |
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Waterdeep We Go

Gaming went pretty well last night. Our party is escorting an agent of a trading company north to a town, the name of which I cannot recall. The monk and my cleric did a poor job of outfitting ourselves so I was forced to waste my highest level spell on creating food and water until we got to the Black Road where we met up with a few caravans and were able to buy supplies.

A bit further on, we ran into some baby white dragons. It did not go particularly well but we survived. The bad news is that mommy dragon is, no doubt, hunting us down to exact some pretty serious revenge. There's potential for a pogrom here. So I'm taking defensive measures. I got my protection from energy spell memorized so I will be shielded from her nasty breath. Her claws and bite, however, are gonna present a problem. As will her ability to cast spells. Juris, the ranger, has taken another wolf as his familiar. I've taken all to calling all of his familiars "Stampy". (Yes, I watch too much Simpsons.)

We had another potluck feast yesterday too. Mel took pity on us nerds and made water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. And, in classic Wisconsin style, we had more cheese than a family of 5 could eat in a year. I have a feeling that I'll be carpet bombing a certain piece of porcelain soon.

Miss Regan slept and slept but she did join us for a while. While Mel, ate, one of us would hold her. Just as the action would get intense, her pacifier would tumble from her mouth and she'd start crying. This would cause us guys who aren't fathers and know next to nothing about babies to question our abilities to hold a child. "What's wrong? What did I do?" Then Regan would let out a very wet-sounding and highly un-ladylike fart and all would be fine. Pacifier back in mouth and back to sleep. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, when Regan grows up, she can say that she was raised by a village of idiots who play Dungeons & Dragons. Whether she'll actually want to or not is a whole other matter.
|| Palmer, 9:52 AM || link || (0) comments |

22 February, 2004

I Will Be An Ignoramus On My Deathbed

My quotidian visit to Toad Hill this morning was interesting and humorous. The New York Times Arts section was really neat. It had articles on the Louvin Brothers, Bertolucci's new film The Dreamers as well as Blow Up by Antonioni and a bit about the making of the upcoming Exorcist flick. Now, that's the kind of stuff I want to read about in the arts section of a newspaper.

Unfortunately, The Caffeinatrix was still ill and still sad. She has a lot of stress in her life with a struggling business and a plethora of unpaid medical bills. Whenever I'm there, I do my best to make her smile and laugh to cheer her up as she has done that for me on more occasions than I can count. There is just this air of melancholy that seems habitual to her now and that saddens me as she's such a wonderful person - so funny, so giving.

She was thumbing through the NYT Fashion Magazine thingy and Miss Vickie and I peered over her shoulder. We were appalled at just how tasteless some of the ads were and how emaciated most of models appeared. The Caffeinatrix then started looking at another part of the paper and came across an article about dog food which prompted her to go on a rant about the evil that is WalMart and I was reminded once again why I like her so much.

Last night I watched a speech given by Debra Dickerson in promotion of her latest book, The End of Blackness. Needless to say, I found it highly interesting. She was, to my mind, very charismatic. Pushing her opinions forcefully in a very approachable, non-intellectual manner, she was able to talk about intellectuals and ideas and yet come across as being very pragmatic. It made me want to not only read her book but also go back and re-read Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, etc.

Yesterday was a fun one, all-around. I got a couple CDs burned and ready to mail. And Lush came over. Wendy and Precious Little Hannah were out and about for the day so he stopped by bearing a bag of cheese and some Capitol Maibock. He, Pete, and I sat around shooting the shit for a few hours. The topics ranged from work, day care, and fatherhood to politics, Dubya, Tom Delay, the FCC, Nipplegate, et al. It was just 5 hours of fun, really. Sharing bits of our lives and then letting it all degenerate into an intellectual free-for-all.

In the midst of our conversation, my friend Jeffrey called. He was in Iowa preparing to drive back to Minneapolis. Not only was I blessed with one friend coming over to shoot the bull but another calls wanting to share his thoughts on something. In Jeff's case, it happened to be about quantum mechanics, Gödel's theorem of incompleteness, and computers. He was educated as a biochemist and that is where his heart lies. After explaining the ideas he has been cogitating upon, he went on about a book that he had just read - Quantum Evolution by Johnjoe McFadden. Discussing this precipitated a question that one does not often get asked over the phone: "So, what does it take to collapse a quantum superimposition? Can a frog do it? Can a cell?"

He is contemplating a move back to Madison because his life in Minneapolis is basically bereft of intellectually curious folks. His mind turns to the the quantum and he has to call a friend a couple hundred miles away to discuss it. I think he is desperate to get out of the IT field and back in academia. No, I know he is. If I were to stay here and he moved back, it would be fucking hilarious. We are the Laurel & Hardy of the pseudo-intellectual crowd. Last fall, he and I went to a philosophy discussion group and had a blast. We would take opposing views and argue against one another at first and then we'd find ourselves arguing complementary points of view, throwing in loads of in-jokes which caused us to giggle like little girls. I don't understand how it happens, only that it does. Our phone conversation ended with me vowing to re-read a book on quantum physics so that we could discuss the matter in-depth at a later date.

I am needy. I need people like Jeff and like Lush in my life. In fact, I seek them out wherever I go. So, any single women out there with intellectual curiosity are highly encouraged to let me court them.

Today I game over at Dogger's and await a nasty email for not having met Pam out at The Annex last night. Just couldn't afford a night out.

I have BookTV on. An interview with a Phillipino woman, Michelle Malkin, who wrote a book about immigration issues, just concluded. Then came a promo for a speech to be televised next week by Star Parker, a black woman and author. I think that's one reason I love BookTV - it's one of a very few places on television where one can find intellectually-minded women and probably the only one featuring such women who are not white. Sure, there are plenty of speeches featuring old white men pondering the life of Thomas Jefferson and such, but the variety of people and viewpoints is really astounding. At least when compared to television programming on for-profit channels.

Another benefit of BookTV is that it bolster my ego by making me feel smart. For instance, yesterday a program on Friedrich Hayek was shown. I knew who he was and, when the moderator talked about his influence on "liberalism in the classic sense", I knew what he meant. The difference between "pragmatism" and "pragmaticism" is not a bit of knowledge that I find myself using very often but, watching BookTV, it has come in handy, on occasion.

I say watching BookTV makes me "feel smart" but I think it really exposes my exceptional ingorance just as graduating from college did. Sure, I was given a Bachelor's degree and had a morass of facts, dates, and names in my head but, for every bit of knowledge I learned, it opened a door exposing a roomful of other facts and ideas of which I was wholly ignorant. What are these things? How do they relate to what I already know? How can I learn them? I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to answer these questions. Of course, I shall fail miserably. But it's not the kill, right?
|| Palmer, 11:51 AM || link || (0) comments |

21 February, 2004

Brooking Babbles

I have to say that my spaghetti sauce turned out well. My only complaints are that I didn't have any fresh basil and that it's just a red cunt hair too sweet. There's that perfect amount of sugar - it just accents the tomatoes perfectly. But, I went just that teensy tinsy bit overboard. But the tomatoes are still tasty.

Ooh! Ooh! BookTV is having a show about various biographies of Friedrich Hayek this afternoon. Hayek was an Austrian economist and Milty Friedman's mentor. I know nothing about his life and have only read his The Constitution of Liberty so it ought to be interesting.

My trek to Chicago went alright, I guess. As I was driving down the interstate - around Huntley - the recruiter calls and asks if I could arrive a half hour early. All I could tell him was that I'd get there ASAP. So I drive like a maniac, i.e. - like the locals only to get stuck in a couple small traffic jams on the Kennedy Expressway. Finally, I get into town, park the car, take a leak, and change. So I start walking over to the bus stop. I'm standing acroos the street waiting for the light to change and my bus passes by - d'oh! i'm forced to wait a few more minutes. I finally get to the el (subway) stop and find myself waiting again. A bouncy ride downtown and them I'm waiting for a bus again. The sign says that about 8 buses stop there and I'm not really sure which of them, besides the obvious, go across the river. So I stay away from an "express" route. Waiting a little while longer, I hop on the next bus and get to my destination. Well, I kinda have to look around as buildings downtown don't exactly have their address wide out in the open most of the time. So I finally get to the building and go up. I flash my ID and am assigned a pass. It seems like, after 9/11, every office downtown requires identification. I go up and find the office.

I fill out an application, have a chat with a recruiter, and am told that we're going to head over to the client's site for an interview with the hiring manager. While I'm waiting in the office's lobby for the recruiter, I flip through an issue of American Lawyer magazine. It featured a review of the new jaguar and a guide to single malt scotches. Well, I guess when you charge $300/hour, that's the kinda stuff you go for. But, while I don't give a shit about fancy cars, this poor person goes for single malts too. Mmmmm...speyside scotch...with splash of water fresh from the branch...mmm...

Anyway, we take the elevator down which had a little computer screen on it flashing news headlines and stock quotes. We catch a cab and we're off. A short ride later, we get to the building go up and wait. Finally the manager comes and drags me to his office while the recruiter goes back to his office. Interview went OK. I'm horrible at gauging such things so all I can say is we'll wait and see. It's seems like a nice place to work and I can't believe the pay they're offering for the position. But, they're lawyers. They do a lot of corporate cases so they're rolling in cash. I mean, they rent 12 floors in an office building in downtown Chicago - that's a big fucking chunk of change in itself. My salary would probably be covered by one of the lawyers just taking a phone call from a client. Still, there may be some hottie paralegals or secretaries in need of a good time.

A few entries ago, I posted some links to sites that gave helpful tips and tricks for fellatio and someone asked what I thought of them. I liked them all. The only things which weren't mentioned or were done so only tangentially and note completely were:

1) Taking into account the comfort of the fellator, I like to be able to see as much of the body of the person who is blessing me with their services. Along these lines, I like to be able to touch them too. Not just running my hand through her hair, but also being able to caress her back and her ass. The idea that a woman might get some sense of how I feel by the pressure I use in kneading her ass, for example, excites me.

2) Talking. There is something very erotic about a woman saying the odd phrase. E.g. - asking me if it feels good. But not with the tone of a hungover college student in class but with a sultry, slightly demonic tone - one that reminds me that she is in control.

The best bit of advice that either of them gave, though, was to simply be communicative. I don't doubt that there are people too emabarrassed to tell a partner how they like to be touched, to be stimulated. Likewise, I'm sure there's many, many people who take such commentary (pleas) to be a sign of their incompetence. As a reader recently noted, women tend to be inculcated as girls with the virgin/whore fallacy. That women who have multiple partners are "sluts". I suppose that it's also true that boys are brought up to think that they ought to know everything there is to pleasing a woman. I mean, there are some general guidelines such as "women like their naughty bits stimulated" but the devil is in the details.

Alright, I'm about to retread ground I've covered in a previous entry which still stands up well. I'll finish with these thoughts: No one should ever be afraid to ask for what they want in the sack and no one should take offense to this.
|| Palmer, 8:47 AM || link || (0) comments |

20 February, 2004

Am I Naughty or Nice?

OK. Change for tollway. Check. Address and phone # of recruiter. Check. Cell phone? Check. Favorite tie (medieval manuscript with illumination)? Check. Pocket watch? Check. Is it wound? Check. Car fueled? Check. Crappy rainy weather to turn to snow and ice? Check.

Everyone who requested a CD - hang tight. I'll get around to them as soon as I can. Ditto for cookies.

Now where is my umbrella...?
|| Palmer, 6:24 AM || link || (0) comments |

19 February, 2004


OK. Tomorrow. Job interview. Chicago. Recruiter sounds like nice guy. Too nice. Good news is, the manager who is hiring said that I'm just what he's looking for. Bad news is, I'd probably start Monday. Short notice to move my ass to another city. Ah well. Someone will put me up for a few days until I can find an apartment or a roommate. Living with my mother again would be odd. Maybe if I plead with my brother and Andy they'll let me crash there. Hey, Andy did say that, if I got a job down there, I could stay at their apartment for 72 hours. No more, no less. I need to get a hold of Geno...
|| Palmer, 9:16 PM || link || (0) comments |
Point -- Counterpoint

In lieu of my recent entry with links to a site with tips on being a cunning linguist, I have been chastized for not representing the other side. So I give you a couple links to some hints and tips for better fellating the man in your life. To wit:

Basic Fellatio

Advanced Fellatio Techniquies
|| Palmer, 8:31 AM || link || (0) comments |
Good Luck, Bill

AP - NEW YORK - Bill Moyers, whose weekly magazine "Now" on PBS has capped a 30-year career in TV journalism, is leaving the broadcast after the November elections.

This saddens me. I've watched Bill Moyers on PBS since I was a kid. It seems like all the old-time journalists who just didn't wave the flag and call people names are leaving television and, worst of all, not being replaced. People who took the time to explore an issue, people who delved into complicated areas which require more than 30 seconds to be explained. Buckley left TV several years ago. Does anyone remember those roundtable debates that PBS used to show that were hosted by Edward R. Murrow's partner in crime, Fred Friendly? They took place at a university, in a lecture hall that looked like an old operating theater. The panelists sat in a circle and Friendly would moderate from the middle. Each discussion had maybe a dozen panelists. I remember the one about abortion. You had a lawyer, a theologian, a judge, a doctor - people from all sorts of fields to being their knowledge and opinions to bear upon the topic.

I remember watching it with such great anticipation. Those were my kind of people, even if we disagreed. They trafficked in ideas. No flashy artifice. Concepts were slowly and deliberately elaborated upon with skill and precision. The payoff of prehension was not immediate and required some thinking on my part. Somehow, as a boy I had the patience to listen and do my best to absorb what the speakers had said and to connect the dots. I even had to consult the dictionary occasionally too. But, if I hadn't, I would have missed something, wouldn't have understood someone's view and their argument.

It's so hard to find such discussion on TV today. When I was a boy, I was taught patience, to take my time and explain things thoroughly. Then I grew up and found that concision and simplicity were the order of the day. And, honestly, I've never really adjusted to this mentality. No idea or news event is worth anything if it's left to stand alone. Without context, without showing its relation to other things, its useless. Economic/business news is great this way.

A stray comment by Alan Greenspan or a statistic is thrown at you and is supposed to mean something. But, for us non-economists, they're devoid of significance. If manufacturing goes up 0.3% in a given quarter or the dollar is trading weaker against the Euro, what does that mean to me? I'm just seeing random numbers and not being given any way to sort out what they mean. Here's something that has meaning to me in business news that gets left out generally: labor news. I'm not a corporate CEO nor a stocker trader nor in the futures market. What affects me? The fate of those striking workers at the Tyson plant in nearby Jefferson. Greenspan's cryptic quotes have virtuality no utility for me. But hearing about those workers does. I bowl with them. The local economy is affected by that plant. Ray-o-Vac moved most of their company out of Madison recently. My friend Dumb Donald lost his job along with hundreds of others. The distribution plant was moved to Dixon, Illinois where there's no union and the starting salary of a warehouse guy was cut down to $7.00/hour. How people like me are faring - that's what the media ought to be covering. WalMart, Target, and such stores didn't have a great Xmas season but high-end retailers did. Could this have anything to do with Bushy's tax cuts that benefitted the wealthy? Whenever the government cuts taxes, every news show should have at least 2 economists come on for at least 2 commercial-free hours to disect and discuss it. Instead we get a sound bite barrage of he said-she said bullshit.

That's just my opinion - I could be wrong.
|| Palmer, 7:40 AM || link || (0) comments |

18 February, 2004

X-Rays, X-Rays Everywhere

There's a wonderful profile of the Medici family on PBS now. It has reminded what huge balls of steel Martin Luther had. His 95 theses and that new-fangled invention, the printing press, really created a shitstorm. It must have been amazing to have been alive during the Renaissance. Science and secularism take hold - the Reformation. All of the great artists that were alive: Botticelli, Bruegel, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, etc. The West spread its wings and gave us the Age of Exploration. It also gave us the codpiece.

How come we men don't have a modern-day equivalent? Why do women get all of the size-enhancing products? I mean, they have implants and bras of all types of brassieres to either make their breasts larger or create the optical illusion of such. And they've got all the clothing to accent or create shape and curves too. What do we men have? Socks. We're forced to put rolled-up socks in our pants. Fuck, even pubescent girls don't have to stuff their bras with tissue anymore yet grown men are forced to resort to an equivalent measure.

I've been reading a couple essays about performing cunnilingus. Now all I need is someone to practice on. If anyone reads it, I'd be interested to know your thoughts. Hey, the more you know...

Just as I'm having pleasant thoughts and in a good all-around disposition, I go and read that the Union of Concerned Scientists is accusing Bushy & Cronies of "distorting and suppressing findings that contradict administration policies". Great. Does this administration ever NOT distort things? At least I can take some comfort in the wonder of that black hole in action.
|| Palmer, 9:45 PM || link || (0) comments |
Wrapped In the Folds of Your Attention

taking and giving

heat causing fires

needs that must be quenched

one need...one desire...one beat...one breath

There will be signposts of indication
semaphore ghost signs and warnings
hailstone halos and country-blues wailings.
There will be strains that break out of straight time
but paid with grace, taking roads to the same place
with consequence to repay what's been given.
There will be layers of means to an end
drawn-out days before resolution
dregs will rain down from all directions.
There will be right, there will be wrong.

The papers for the lawyer and the court are ready and waiting to be mailed. My taxes have been sent to the accountant already. E-mails of recognition from potential employers have been received. No worthy phone calls - only automated voices assaulting my ear with "This is not a solicitation." A link from a reader whose dopamine-addled brain ponders a point of departure. The article is about love. Love. Amo - amare - amari

18 February 2004, 8:53A.M. - Toad Hill Coffeehouse
I sure wish these peole would leave. I wanna have a word with JimmyD before I bust outta Dodge. Christ! Now someone else is walking in. Well, well, well. What have we here? Brunette. Mid-30s. Long, straight hair. Ye gods! I'd love to run my hands through that mane! That properly-angled face. Glasses. She is so fucking gorgeous! Shit! Now she's turned to look at the coffee menu.

Glance back down at the paper and figure out when you can see Waiting for Godot

OK. She's back in line. Too bad she's got this big, poofy winter coat on. It's red. Blood-red. Looks good on her.

Pulchra enim sunt ubera quae paululum supereminent

Wait. Now she's gone and grabbed a section of today's paper and has her nose buried in it.

"Mocha with skim mild. To go?"

Who the fuck drinks skim milk in this state?

"Do you want whipped cream on that?" "Yeah."

Jesus H. Christ. No fat in the drink, just on top of it. What is wrong with people? Ooh! I can see her tilting her head up from the corner of my eye!

Look at her you idiot!

Done and done. Smile. She has such a pretty smile. One of those I could just fall into. She glances at the paper in my hand - the theater listings. I glance at her hand - wedding ring.
|| Palmer, 11:14 AM || link || (0) comments |
The Camera Eye

these seconds, minutes when my courage was facing an extremely beautiful woman, a stranger, knew no limits, were later a mystery to me but far greater mysteries were to come I naturally had no idea at the time the only thing on my mind as the train reached the station was whether she would get off the train here to my relief she remained sitting even when the train came to a halt she remained focused on her book and its secret taxt that was flowing into her mind what was it she was reading? much to my astonisment I noticed that she had put a hand on her thigh, right above her knee, but she did not let it rest there it pressed her dress against her skin and slowly, exceedingly slowly, moved upwards, pulling her dress along as it moved, to reveal more and more of her thigh I could not help looking it felt as if my body were levitating, weightlessly from the clammy seat, rose and became one with the Pslams of David now I could not must not look any longer I squeezed my eyes shut and whispered internally Sin, this is Sin which clothed our Redeemer's head with thorms and pierced His heart, which put Him through suffering, sorrow, pain and anguish

her breath

her lips, the invisible droplets

then she asked if I had a pen she could use

I produced a pen from my breast pocket and handed it to her

then she leafed through her book, to the last, blank page, and started drawing she drew quickly and precisely what could it be? circles and lines, it looked like geometric figures, complicated patterns the terrain outside the compartment window glided past but I paid no attention to the changing scenery I tried to follow the lines, her movements, her slender fingers, no rings, discreet nail polish she was drawing meticulously and determinedly while lifting her eyes from time to time to look at me, making sure I was paying attention to her this interaction, I felt certain, must lead to something or other

she was done

she nodded, apparently satisfied

then she carefully tore the page from the book and handed it to me &I took it and thanked her, but for what? I naturally did not know at the time that I should not only have thanked her but I ought to have sunk to my knees and kissed the floor beneath her shoes the drawing I held in my hand, of which I understood absolutely nothing, despite having examined it closely, was destined to, over the following days and months, precipitate a revolution in my soul I remained sitting with the piece of paper in my hand until the train, quite unexpectedly, stopped at a tiny, nameless spot outside Santiago then, hastily, the girl got up

"if you decipher this drawing, you shall learn what truly is concealed in heaven" she said

then she smiled an impish goodbye and stepped off the train the platform was on the opposite side of the compartment so I didn't have a chance to wave before the train forged ahead
|| Palmer, 10:43 AM || link || (0) comments |

Two trucks packed with explosives blew up Wednesday outside a Polish-run base south of Baghdad after coalition forces opened fire on the suicide bombers racing toward them. Eight Iraqi civilians were killed and at least 65 people were wounded, many of them coalition soldiers.


Le soleil emergea de la montagne
les vagues se deroulerent sur la baie

Gay and lesbian couples from Europe and more than 20 states have lined up outside the ornate San Francisco City Hall since city officials decided to begin marrying same-sex couples six days ago. City officials said 172 couples were married Tuesday, a pace that would bring the total number who have taken vows promising to be "spouses for life" to over 3,000 by Friday.


de fabuleux oiseaux de couleurs flamboyantes s'envolerent

Dean, who went winless in 17 caucuses and primaries after falling from leading contender early in the year, does not intend to endorse either John Kerry or John Edwards, a campaign aide told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Dean has been impressed with Edwards and suggested on the campaign trail that he would make a better nominee, but Dean has decided to stay out of the Kerry-Edwards contest, the aide said.


Et bien, nous sommes tous de jolis anges ensemble au paradis
Couche-toi mon cheri tu vas bien apprecier cela

Listen to me
Just hear me out
If I could have your attention
Just quieten down for a voice in the crowd
I get so confused and I don't understand
I know you feel the same way you've always wanted to say
But you don't get the chance
Just a voice in the crowd
|| Palmer, 10:08 AM || link || (0) comments |

17 February, 2004


Having taken my Physical-Attractionometer test yesterday, I was emailed my results as well as a list of potential women for me to pursue. Curiously enough, of the 20 or so women who were scientifically determined to be attractive to me, only 1 was from Wisconsin. The ad proudly proclaims that I'll like:

Her cute face
Her very feminine look and style
Her "Ecto-Mesomorph" face with narrow chin and nicely angular features

Oh yeah that's romantic. "We met on the Internet," as all good tales begin. "The minute I saw her picture I was mesmerized by her ecto-mesomorphic face..." Is there a pick-up line in there somewhere too?

A big thanks to all who have responded to my queries. There are two things I've been wanting to write about but can't quite do so. Firstly is the situation in Iraq and the news that the US is going to veto an "Islamic" base to Iraqi law for fear of repercussions to women's rights. Secondly, I have been meaning to write about gay marriage and homophobia but I can quite get my brain to cooperate in the manner I deem necessary to actually produce an entry. To be sure, I have an opinion on these matters and those who disagree with me will be dealt with, but forming something coherent seems beyond my brain at this point.

I was looking at stuff that Bible bashers use to justify their attitudes towards homosexuals when, out of the blue, a quote about women that I've known for a while popped into my head: "And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her". Then I found this quote from Thomas Aquinas: "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power..." And that made me remember the words of Tertullian Then I recalled this quote from Tertullian: "...each of you women is an Eve...You are the gate of Hell, you are the temptress of the forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of the divine law..."

Now, I go along with that second part - the bit about being temptresses. I'm a sucker for an ecto-mesomorphic face and can be convinced to do just about anything by women. I can't help it - it's biological. If a woman is fine enough, I'd crawl over a mile of broken glass just to hear her fart over the telephone.

Anyway, I kept thinking how awful these views are. Who would actually hold them? I suspect that any man who honestly feels like that must have severe psychological problems. Think about it. Men constantly want to try and get back to where they came from - how in the name of Christ could a guy loathe the object of 99 44/100% of his thoughts? Say that you're Thomas Aquinas and you go visit a convent. You see all these little nuns in their tight-fitting habits being ordered around by a bunch of seedy tonsured goofballs, not knowing what a man can do for them...and you wanna tell me that those hotties are defective? No fucking way!

You'd want to roger one of them roundly. With one in an arm, you'd go over to the altar and wipe it clean with your other. And before the crucifix, pyx, reliquary, and whatever else they stored on altars back then hit the floor, you'd have hoisted up that habit and have her bent over that altar. Sometimes I think various historical figures are dumber than they're given credit for.

Man, I really would have hated to have been a monk in the Middle Ages. Locked up in a scriptorium, which, in itself would have been alright, but locked up with a buncha sex-starved guys and me not being able to even have an erection without fearing the wrath of God. Still, buggery must have been rampant. What a horrid work environment. It's almost as bad as working in an office where there's no windows and you're left to try to get a flourescent tan. I think this quote from an anonymous woman sums it up well: "Part of my energy, part of the thing that makes me so good in the workplace, part of the creative flow, has to do with my sexual energy." Damn skippy! Just having women around makes a workplace different, makes it better. Even if they're so dumb they couldn't make a plug for a dog's asshole with a shit for a pattern, there's just something about the female presence. A little flirting by the water cooler or just pausing to persue some casual banter as you pass in the hallway. Working with only male co-workers makes it easier to get away with blonde jokes but is, for me, less-fulfilling than one littered with members of the fairer sex. My sexual energy does this little pas de deux with theirs and I feel a lot more creative, more able to do the mundane stuff which people get paid to do nowadays like helping a person figure out over the phone where the Start button is in Windows.

Wow! What a crappy bunch of nonsense I just wrote. I've even amazed myself.
|| Palmer, 2:15 PM || link || (0) comments |
Trivial Thoughts

While my head is full of thoughts and I feel the need to write, the words just aren't flowing. Surprisingly, I am in a pretty good mood. Then again, how could one not be with R.L. Burnside crankin'?


Who is Luke Skywalker's childhood friend that got cut of of Star Wars excepting a few scenes at the end where he his X-Wing is destroyed by Darth Vader?

More local evil white men. A man tried to get a 12 year-old boy to step into his car: "Police described him as Caucasian, about 60 years old, average build, and no facial hair." Also, "A Stoughton man is facing federal charges of having sex with children and sending explicit images over the Internet." Stoughton is a small community just south of Madison and it's populated mostly by crazy Norwegians so this guy is almost definitely white. And priests are at it again: "A priest in Baraboo is placed on leave after a sexual abuse allegation against him was found credible enough to refer to the Vatican for an investigation." Baraboo is about 30 miles north of here. Small town - priest is probably white. And that engine of grief, the Vatican is on the case. I should go up there and see if there's this group of cardinals in nice red uniforms there.

From an article about online dating: "Experts say you should assume the people are 20 percent worse looking in person than they are in their picture." 20%. How in the name of fuck did they determine that? Do you suppose the actual percentage was 19.7 or 20.2 and they just rounded the figure?

Now here's a coffee with a sexy name - Misty Fjords. Mmm...I can just picture it. I wake up next to a woman with a vaguely ectomorphic body and long, dark hair. I plant a kiss on her head as I run my hand across her smaller breasts before heading downstairs to brew coffee. A few minutes later, she wanders into the kitchen wearing only my Periodic Table of the Elements t-shirt (which contrasts with her pale skin) and her glasses. I pour a cup of that luscious black elixir. Turning to her and reaching out a cup, I say, "Guten morgen - curl your tender, average lips around this..."

I have some questions:

1) Ladies, would you be mad if your hubby looked at porn on the Internet? If so, would just the casual surfing and gawking be enough to make you irate? Or would he have to devote a lot of time to it to draw your wrath?
2) Do you care if a guy's beef syringe is circumcised or not? 3) For all non-Americans: Is the United States' reputation as horrid as I think it is? What do you and your peers think? The non-US media?

Oooh! Oooh!! This morning, I went to Toad Hill and I noticed that the coffee delivery guy's van was there. Going inside, I poured myself a cup - yes, I am self-service now - and started chatting. The Caffeinatrix said that she almost ordered something especially for me. I constantly rag on her to get Kenyan AA but, since it's not organic or Fair Trade, she refuses. But I suspect, since she loves me so much and I complain about it all the time, that her defenses are crumbling and it will soon make its way to me. Anyway, the 3 of us chatted for a while and I brought up that coffee whose beans are passed through the GI system of monkeys. And now, I've found some info on it. Kopi Luwak. "A small marsupial called the paradoxurus, a tree-dwelling animal that is a kind of civet...eats, digests and eventually excrete" the beans. For the record, the creatures poop out the beans sans feces. I found a site that sells the stuff for $175 for a 1/4 pound. (.11kg) Oh, I soooo wanna try that stuff! Why are my tastes so expensive? I want $700/pound coffee, $210/litre booze...life would be easier if my tastes were more pedestrian. Well, cheaper anyway. I see that Japan buys the bulk of the stuff. I wish I knew someone in Japan who could purchase some for me...
|| Palmer, 11:38 AM || link || (0) comments |
What Is A Grue?

After having caught up on film news last night I settled in for a nice game of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You see, the Douglas Adams site has a Java version (I love it that a programming language is named after coffee. And I love how the automatic Java updater on this computer sits in the system tray whose icon is a cup of piping hot coffee. Mmm...coffee...) of the old Infocom text adventure. I just love this game! Anyone here have a computer back in the 80s and have any Infocom games? Planetfall and the Zorks were other faves. ("What is a grue?") For you folks who are not familiar with such games, they are all text. You are presented with a description of a locale and you type in what you want to do. "n" to move north or "get toothbrush". No graphics at all, not even cheesy ASCII graphics. Fucking brilliant! When I was 7th or 8th grade (1985-6), we were allowed to use the computers during our lunch hour for recreation. The room had about 20 Apple IIe's and it got to the point where most, if not all of them, were used to play Hitchhiker's. So instead of being able to zip over to the teachers' lounge and enjoying adult company, my teacher was stuck supervising a roomful of Straight Dope-reading, progressive rock listening, Hitchhiker's playing kids. I bet he rued the day he decided to let us them. When one of us would solve a puzzle, he'd announce it to the rest of the group. "Hey you guys! To get past the Ravenous Bug Blatter Beast of Traal, you've gotta..." Good times.

Anyway, so I'm playing last night and I get as far as the Vogon ship. I recalled that you had to enjoy the Captain's poetry but failed to figure out how to type on the keyboard of the case to get the atomic vector plotter. So Ford and I got thrown out the airlock and died. And you can't save your position in the game either.

I'm glad no one saw me playing either because it seems weird that I have a computer that has a 2GHz processor and 256MB of RAM while my Commodore 64 had a, what?, 5Mhz processor and 64Kb of RAM and I prefer games from 1985. There just haven't been any games the last few years that have caught my interest. The last game that really sucked me in was The Last Express. (And before that, the Blade Runner game.) I loved The Last Express so much, I wrote the software company to tell them. You play this American spy in 1917 and you're on the last voyage of the Orient Express before World War I breaks out. Getting on board the train by hopping onto it from a motorcycle, you go to your compartment to meet your friend only to find that he's dead. From there, it's all mystery and intrigue. Passengers from various countries ride the train and some don't speak English so you'll be eavesdropping and not understand everything. Plus I really dig the graphics. The makers videotaped live action and then rotoscoped it like in Waking Life It gives the game a really cool look. Plus they found an old car from the Orient Express so the detail of interior of the train is fantastic and genuine. You've gotta plan subterfuges so you can sneak into the rooms of other passengers and be nosey. Unfortunately, I was in the minority and didn't sell very well. And it cost a lot to make so there will never be anything similar. A shame.

One game I've tried to get into but have failed in Baldur's Gate. It's basically Dungeons & Dragons so you'd think I'd be on it like a fly on shit. But, for some reason, I just can't. (Oddly enough, our real life D&D campaign occurs a bit north of where the video game takes place. "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Waterdeep we go!") And I'm not a first-person shooter kinda guy. Well, Redneck Rampage was fun but I never got into Half-Life. I am, however, looking forward to the Call of Cthulhu game that has been delayed for months. The only games I play nowadays are ones originally for the Intellivision or Commodore 64 that have been ported over to the PC. I guess I'm just retro. But isn't retro in nowadays?
|| Palmer, 8:36 AM || link || (0) comments |

16 February, 2004

Oh Venus, Where Art Thou?

I checked some email and then saw a link to a test which would determine the ideal phyisical traits in women for me. The results are humorous.

First of all, I find that, of my fellow survey takers my age, only 10% are in more-or-less strict agreement with me. Once again I veer towards a minority of one. I wonder if these guys also got such contradictory results such as "Your photo choices suggest a woman over 30 is probably getting a little old for your tastes" and, directly underneath it, "You seemed interested in dating a woman at least 30 or older". On the next page under Features You Usually Don't Like, I find "Women over age 30" and, again, directly underneath it, "Women under age 30". Fuck, I guess I'm looking for a woman who remains eternally 30. Also, I don't seem to like "Very low "mainstream" appeal". Now that I take issue with. I generally am very attracted to women who have low "mainstream" appeal. At least I think so as I've no idea what "mainstream" appeal is. Aha. It then says: "Interestingly, a lot of the features you liked are not especially popular. They're not what usually defines "mainstream" attractiveness for women." Now, that's more like it.

I like "Thin, angular faces with a classic or refined look", that is, ecto-Mesomorphs amd ectomorphs. OK, I can see that but I also love more rounded faces too. Next, it tells me that I prefer "Cute, button or small noses". Maybe. Well, not really. I mean, take my current crush. She doesn't have anything approaching a button nose yet I drool over the sight of her visage anyway. Noses add character. "Glasses and the sophisticated and smart look that goes with them". Yeah, generally. Faces: "Women with a 'Girl Next Door' appeal consistently caught your eye during the test...Long, straight hair (often light brown), an open and warm face, very feminine features, and a soft smile are among the hallmarks of this look."

Next we have lips: "You preferred women to have nice average-sized lips; not too thin and not too full. Even though thicker lips are more popular, you were not especially drawn to them. Perhaps it's because you like very natural-looking women, without a lot of makeup." They nailed the the natural-looking thing. Oh, here's something: "While you may enjoy looking at different breast sizes, based upon the choices you made, you prefer a woman with smaller breasts." I suppose so. There is something about smaller breasts that trips my trigger but, honestly, it's not particularly important. Now, here's something that's important - hair. "You liked women with a variety of hair cuts, but you gave special attention to women with long hair. You seem to really appreciate women with beautiful hair. It's one of the qualities that seemed to grab your attention during the test." Absolutely goddamn fucking right. Long (straight/dark) hair will attract me like a moth to the flame. I mean, I dated a woman with a buzz cut for a while and it was a slight turn-off. Fortunately, her desire to give head and fuck made up for this.

They've got this body type thing kinda messed up. It says I prefer slender, athletic women the most, followed by slender, narrow-hipped women. Personally, I think I prefer slender, non-athletic women with proportionally-wide hips the best. Heather was this way. (She constantly complained about her ass being too big for some reason.) Another thing this dealie got wrong was complexion. It says I prefer an olive complexion and should head to the Mediterranean for my next vacation. On the contrary, I prefer, among caucasian women, pale faces like me. There's just something for me about the contrast of dark hair and white skin.

The results show a woman whose face is considered my ideal. Long, straight brown hair...mmm...The verdict? I'm the finicky type: "It's official: You're 'picky'...You know what you like in women and are more selective than most men your age. Your tastes seem instinctual...In real life, your high standards may be an obstacle for you. It's hard to find a woman with the strong features you like, who's also well-rounded in other ways. Still, you know the importance of a real physical "spark" in a relationship, and aren't willing (or able) to settle for less. The challenge is finding a woman who really wows you physically, even if she's not the most attractive woman in the room."

There are, however, some things the survey misses. For instance, tattoos. I'd prefer no butterflies or dolphins, though. Celtic knotwork or just cool patterns are my faves at this point. And piercings. Ears, navel, and nose. And not those bull ring nose thingies where the middle bit of your nose is pierced. I mean the outside flap hoolie. Briana had one of those and I thought it was fantastic. As for ears, I like it up on the ear, not just on the droopy bit. And I've warmed up to tongue piercings too.

My brain in conjunction with my penis seems to really dig traditionally feminine, "girl-next-door" types who adorn themselves in such a way as to appear outside of the "mainstream". I am attracted to people in general who appear individualistic, who go against the grain. I find myself unwilling to approach people who'd look at home on the cover of Cosmo or GQ. Somewhere inside me is this program that says that trendy people are dumb and thusly uninteresting. It's certainly not always the case but it's a good rule of thumb for me.

Of course, this particular survey has nothing to do with personality. In fact, I think I took one about that topic at the same site a few months ago. I'm sure it said "You desire a fraulein with brains." Oh how I miss dating a woman whose favorite author was Dostoevsky or who spoke Japanese...
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