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The Continuing Adventures of Starman
(an Ihoz Labs Production)
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These three objects stand next to each other at my desk at work. If I were a slightly different person, I'd be writing Doctor Who/The Spectre/ 1995 Seattle Mariners crossover fiction!



(Hi everyone! I still occasionally read this space!)
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...but re the most recent UK Pace Doctor Who

Yes spoilers here!!!Collapse )
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Inspired by papilo_luna's post (who I'm not going to link to, because I don't think anyone other than me who reads my LJ can see hers), I was thinking a bit about Amy Pond. She's a really weird character.

Spoiler space in case you haven't watched anything at all of Season 5. I'll not spoil anything that isn't in US paceCollapse )

Current Music: phish - Rock & Roll

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The famous quote of Libertarians and Republicans when they try to claim that they're the adult party is, "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." They like to attribute that to Ben Franklin but there's no reference that he actually wrote that. Whatever. The point of the quote is that democracy can be gamed, that you can offer people all reward and no sacrifice and if you do that, you'll get votes. This is why we have representative government, to prevent our nation becoming like California where people vote for goodies and also vote against tax increases and also vote for a balanced budget.

The problem is that the only way this system works is if elected officials are willing to take problems seriously. People can disagree with the right course of action, but you have to look at your legislation to see what potential downside your proposals can have. We have to act like adults here.

Now look at the day after comments from Republicans with respect to healthcare such as Senator John Cornyn:

There is non-controversial stuff here like the preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things," the Texas Republican said. "Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that is frankly a distraction."

What the GOP will work to repeal, Cornyn explained, are provisions that result in "tax increases on middle class families," language that forced "an increase in the premium costs for people who have insurance now" and the "cuts to Medicare" included in the legislation.

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/23/nrscs-cornyn-we-wont-call_n_510232.html)

So look at that. What do the Republicans want? They want all of the benefits of the bill, only without the bits that explain how we will pay for it or how insurance companies will stay in business. Democrats may propose spending but they at least talk about how they'll pay for it. Republicans right now want all of the advantages of spending with none of the disadvantages of voting for the ugly parts that fund everything.

We need a real conservative party. Despite leaning to the liberal side myself, I am not naive enough to think that everything the left wants is the right thing. You need to have intelligent opposition both on the left and the right to push policy in better directions. The problem is that one party has completely given up in taking governing seriously at all, working solely on political gimmicks to whip up their voters. In a system where it's hard for new parties to gain power, this is very dangerous.

Current Music: Phish - Tweezer

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So when I was in college, I was really into Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus Trilogy. Like Catcher in the Rye (which has to be read early in high school so you can identify with Holden), it has to be read in college when you're experimenting with eastern philosophy for it to make sense. Part of the book talks about the religion of Discordianism. While it comes across as a joke, it's actually kind of serious in its own way. You can read its quasi-Bible at http://www.principiadiscordia.com/ and I still find that "A Sermon on Ethics and Love" (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/45.php) is something that speaks to me.

Anyway, one of the beliefs of Discordianism is the Law of Fives. "ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5." The point of the law - and I tell you this because few of you are in the right target age for this discovery now - is to tell someone about it and point out examples constantly about how things are related to five, even if you have to make it stretch. Some of them should be obvious, things with five items in them, important events that happened in May (the 5th month) or on 2/3 (2+3=5). Eventually you stretch some with things like, "Phish have 5 members, including CK." The goal is first to make someone agree with the comment, "I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look," and then, weeks or months or years later, catch on that that's because we're pattern matching people and once you start looking for patterns, you find them... and we do this with all sorts of other things and it infects the way we think. It's a pretty powerful revelation.

Part of the Live of Fives thing is the idea of 23 hidden in it. 23 is important because 2+3 = 5, but also because Wilson (yes, I love that that's his name) discovered all sorts of coincidences around the number. It was cool because when I was growing up, I used to play a baseball simulation game APBA and getting the result "23" meant that something weird happened, a rainout or an injury or a player passing another in the basepaths or something... So I had my own 23 weird coincidence.

I got into it when I was at Bard. I even ended up making up a quasi-religion around SPANDEX the Goldfish, that was Discordian themed subconsciously. A lot of myth makers believe that gods are powered by worship, so I shouldn't be that surprised that two minor miracles happened to me on Zzyzx Road, one time having a warning about police being planted in my mind which bizarrely turned out to be true, one time having a water bottle somehow teleport from the car into my pocket as Mel and I were engaged in a hike there. Both of those could be rationalized but they were weird enough to make me think...

Last night I get a photo mailed to me. Someone saw Zzyzx Road on their way back from Indio and found the photo and decided to mail it to me. That happens a lot. However, this time was different. California has been the last hold out for numbering their highway exits. If you drive there, there will be billboards saying things like, "Take the second Red Bluff exit" or something, because they can't say, "Take exit 435." Over the past few years, CDOT has been in the process of numbering their exits in order to conform with everyone else. They're basing it on mile markers - exit 34 is 34 miles from the southern or western end of the highway - which is useful because California is also the only state without those since they had an already existing county exit highway system and it's hard to know how far you are from the end of the state. The photo of Zzyzx Road had the exit number on it. I had never seen that before. What was it? 23!

Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

Current Music: Phish - Gotta Jibboo

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...but with 90 minutes to go before the announcement, here's what would excite me about this Mactablet thingie. One of the rumors has it having video out. If it has that and a digital audio out, then this could be the device I've been looking for, an Apple TV that would actually work, but also would run other apps like the Sunday Ticket app and the MLB app. I don't see any reason why this can't be part of the device and it would make me want to find a way to buy one somehow...

Current Music: Phish - Slave To The Traffic Light

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So I was reading my comics last night and saw that DC is making a new Who's Who and occurred me that they're missing out here.  This is the 21st century.  Instead of an 18 issue series that people would have to flip through to find out the details of a character, why not make that an iPhone app (and a chrome app too I guess).  I'd much rather pay $20 for something where I can pull up a character and get their history immediately.  We're geeks guys!  Work with us!

Current Music: XOOS - Come to the Garden (Ext)

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I've been trying to write a note about Niki all day and it's been very hard. The sheer unfairness of her life and death overwhelm my writing skills. Mel and I went for a walk early today and I was questioning what the point of everything is. It sure makes it hard for me to believe in any sort of benevolent deity when I think about how some people are given so little chance for success.

I've seen her potential - while she took way too much credit for it, all of the early moments of my relationship with Mel have her doing us a favor that made the interaction possible - and wonder how incredible she could have been if she could have just caught a break or two just once in her life. Even the mistakes she made were those of someone who had no good options and was just so frustrated that she lashed out where she could.

As bad as a lot of the moments were, I still remember the good ones. We had so much fun at Camp Phunky at the first Bonnaroo. For that matter, I'll never forget sitting in the back seat in a car in Vegas 2004 as we went on the "date" that Mel said I was allowed to have with you. You told this story from the Miami run. You went out in the beach well past midnight on the 1st and watched someone wrap himself in the bedsheet where some friends had crossed that boundary. He sang his own deranged version of "Meatstick" until the sun came up. Then he lit it on fire, running in the ocean to put it out before he could hurt himself.

As insane as that story was, that's what really brings it home. If this were 2003, it's quite possible you and Mel would have been driving to Charlottesville together yesterday - maybe first picking me up at the Richmond airport. We'd be cracking jokes about the naked guy and the Mike bass problems. Instead I'm sitting here trying to wrap my mind around a world where I'll never see you again.

Rest in peace my dear Nikaroo. On New Year's Eve, we'll go out to the beach and look out at the ocean, imagining some deranged person entertaining you all night. Then we'll raise a glass in your honor. To Nichole Griffith. May you somehow have found the peace in death that eluded you in life.
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Why do people root for a bad economy? I was reading two stories on Salon today. One was on the good job loss report. All of the comments there were all, "Yeah right. The government is just covering themselves. ADP knows what's really up." The other was on Goldman Sacks predicting a horrible forecast through 2011 and the letters there were all, "They're being optimistic. We'll be lucky to see 11% UE for the next 2 years."

There's a group of people who love to root for bad economic times and like to try to outbid each other, ("25% Unemployment? Pah! That's being optimistic!") over how bad things will be. Do they really think they'll be immune to the problems of another Great Depression or are their middle class lives so boring that they like to fantasize about societal collapse as a hobby? I don't get it.

Current Music: Billy and Liza - This Time