Miles from Nowhere
(6-15 June 2003)
15 June 2003
-Sha Sha (P.R. Chu on the BP People page) has put up a graphic & brief explanation of the famous Caterpillar Invasion of New Mexico 1996. I have made similar attempts at explanation here & have some funny stories about it in person. But that picture really aids the understanding of just what a biblical experience it was.
-The perceptions that people have about others is so myriad & strange. In many cases, it feels like people reinvented history to fit their memory, their version of the past. & even still, it seems like other forces in the universe won't let those reinventions stand. Some of my best proofs for the existence of Higher Power in this befuddled world include laundry lists of reinventions that one is Not Allowed to get away with. With the truth raining back upon people in a torrent, no matter how hard they try to escape, we come to understand the singularity of reality. This does a lot of damage to those who feel that we create our own reality, or that all that we see is made so by our thought. If nothing else, we are continually exposed to the flip side of the coin, the other person's equally distorted view, & in the merger of their view & one's own, we find a clearer image of the truth than either side ever held before. Often this process is scary, almost always stomach-turning & unsettling, & yet most of the best moments of life are when we force ourselves to examine a mirror & study the cracks.
14 June 2003
-"A Mighty Wind" wasn't offensive like I feared it would be. It was really humorous. Of course, I don't like comedy a whole lot, so it was hardly a "great" movie or anything. But it was fun. Since we narrowly decided on that over the Matrix, I continue to be what Phil Larochelle calls "one of the 12 people in north america who has yet to see the matrix reloaded".
-I'm trying to discover more about how/why vegetarians go "bad" & return to eating meat. The idea is so incomprehensible to me that it defies explanation. I think I am more likely to start eating tables tomorrow than ever return to eating meat. So why do other veggies do it? & after years & years in many cases... so weird.
13 June 2003
Happy Birthday to John Schneider
-Remember Vietnam? Well I don't either but we've all read about it & heard about it from those who were there. Sure, the opposing government remained in control, but didn't the day-to-day reality look a lot like current Iraq? Every day, two or three Americans down with twenty or thiry Iraqis down, & no one really paying much attention? Isn't this how quagmires start? I'm sure the future puppet government will be better received than South Vietnam's though. Oh yeah.
-Goodness! I have two and a half days off now! It's like a, what do you call those things again? Week...und? And? End? Something like that.
12 June 2003
-Today was just a day fading into another. A week of isolation. I know better, I really do.
11 June 2003
-In a hugely under-reported story, Ontario legalized homosexual marriages yesterday. As opposed to the "civil unions" legal in Vermont & Quebec, these are full-fledged marriages placed on par with heterosexual marriages, rather than in a separate (unequal) category. It is thought that all of Canada could follow suit by 2004! That would make Canada only the 4th nation in the world to legalize such marriages, joining the Netherlands, Belgium, & Denmark. If you're looking for nations which REALLY champion civil rights, there's your list, folks. Read it, Americans, & weep.
-The Quiz has been perma-linked! By someone I don't know! Right below the Onion! On their left sidebar of links, this individual describes the CQ as "amusement for hours, I know, we do it at work". Maybe I SHOULD whip up that sequel Quiz. (note: I don't know anything more about this site, the person could be cruddy. But I periodically sift through links to the Quiz to get peoples' opinions & that one struck me.)
10 June 2003
-In response to my discussion a few days back of the attempt to start a 3rd party movement in this befuddled country, Kevin Grinberg wrote me an e-mail with various refutations to more-than-2-party theories of democracy. It's too bad he hasn't posted to his webpage in over half a year, or we could have a grand online debate, a la Dolan v. Sepielli. Suffice it to say that after spending way too much time looking up statistics from various sources of election information online, I have concluded that the US is even more backwards in its lack of 3rd party representation than I previously thought. In fact, I'm strongly considering making a feature section of this webpage on American Democracy: The Failed Experiment. It would mostly display raw data of 3rd-party representation in the parliaments of various other nations, as compared to the consistent 0% in the United States. While very rarely an independent will hold a solitary seat in the House &/or Senate (putting overall percentages still well below 1%), I did a preliminary sampling of 3rd-party or independent representatives or senators in various nations. Across the UK, France, Canada, Russia, India, Japan, South Africa, Germany, & Israel, 3rd parties & independents hold anywhere from 11% (France) to 58.5% (Russia) of the total seats in their legislative body. The fact that the minimum across all those diverse & multifarious democracies is 11% of seats in the legislature should indicate to you how much more of a voice the concept of a 3rd party has worldwide in democracy, & how far from democracy the US has gotten. Yes, coalitions are sometimes formed out of necessity, & maybe 1950's theory discusses eventual dissolution into 2 parties. But empirically, we can see that 2-party democracy just doesn't function.
-In fact, examining the data once more, even 3-party democracy doesn't really function. Taking into account the same countries listed above, the range of parties holding seats (not on the ballott, remember, but holding actual legislative seats) runs from 4 (France again) to 43 (India) parties. Clearly 43 is an amazing outlier, the next two countries each have 12 (South Africa & Israel). I would love to see the political upheaval & groundbreaking originality of thought that would stem from 12 parties holding seats in the House of Representatives! Even 4 would be amazing, which is the bare minimum (& that, in France, excludes 12 independents - 2.1% of the legislature - who would be a fifth faction) in all these other major democracies.
-My right hand has hurt today in a manner that I would imagine is similar to the infamous carpal tunnel syndrome. This poses a dubious problem for me, since I have always classified carpal tunnel with things like the McDonald's Hot Coffee Lawsuit, O.J. Simpson's Search for the Real Killer, & Iraq's Threatening Weapons of Mass Destruction. So I think I just sprained my hand somehow & it will be better even if I continue to type & use the computer like a madman.
9 June 2003
-One of the worst nights in a long while as far as sheer quantity of distressing dreams. It really makes me not want to sleep for a couple weeks. To not-sleep it off.
-With both totals down slightly from the week before, last week (ending 2 days ago) was the 2nd week all-time for hits & the Country Quiz here at the Pyramid of Blue. Two very startling things have crept into my weekly updates. For one, Pakistan debuted as the top country in the Quiz this week, a position only held by the UN or Thailand in the last 19 weeks, & Chile in the only other week (when it won with a mere 10 votes in the first week of the Quiz). Either the Quiz caught on big with the Coalition for the Protection of Pigs (the final question leading to Pakistan asks you if a cow or pig is more sacred) OR some diligent websurfer has taken the Quiz enough times with the same answer to lift Pakistan to the top. Considering that Pakistan had previously been ranked 27th overall in the Quiz, with a high finish of 8th in any given week, this is quite an accomplishment, & the clearest anomaly of data since the Quiz went public. Other attempts to grab my attention fell short of winning the SOTW this time around, but will get mention for fun... storey clayton king of green is true, storey clayton go fish is strange, while clearly storey clayton eats alien meat is just an amazing search.
-I am sampling yet another style for the Blue Pyramid People page of links. I don't think I like the change I just made, but something needs to be done to make that page more clear. Web design is sometimes strangely limiting, at least at my level.
8 June 2003
-Errands are better when you have someone to share them will. Unfortunately, many of them are still errands. & no matter how much time we spend together, malls & I will never get along. Bleargh.
-Meanwhile, I appear to be gaining a bit of weight, but every ounce of it in my stomach. I can't remember ever gaining weight, so this is a bizarre & strange feeling. I now insist that my stomach is fat. It makes clothes that used to fit feel a little tight. It sticks out. I always had wanted to gain weight because I assumed that it would distribute itself evenly across one's body. Though Em thinks I'm making a mountain out of a molehill-esque stomach, this concerns me. I envision gaining 60 pounds, every one of them in my stomach, reaching an "ideal weight" & not being able to fit between library shelves.
7 June 2003
-Always nice to safely tag another June 7th.
-My Saturday job is done. As I said under my breath on my way out the door, 1 down, 2 to go. But it's the worst one down, by far, so it's a fine start.
6 June 2003
Happy Birthday to Paul Garin III
-I almost didn't go intowork today for a variety of reasons, many of them associated with today's personal significance. I might as well have not gone into work, since there is nothing to do. Next week is going to be even more skull-crushingly dull than normal, with my boss out of the JMMC office. Maybe I'll just design a new Country Quiz.
-Speaking of the ol' CQ, I'm on the LiveJournal charts! Apparently the Quiz is the 28th-most linked site lately (the time-frame they give is "recently", whatever that means). Check it out here.
-In other news, both unemployment & the stock market are up again today. This extends the worst streak for job loss since the Depression. Someone should tell the people with money in this country that the economy is bad.
-The volunteers at JMMC mean very well, but often are ill-equipped for their duties. My boss' favorite task for them has been ordering new books for the Library after she selects what to order. But the volunteers enter the quantity & almost never double-check their work. In the last 2 weeks alone, we have received six separate titles in quantities of 11 or 12 (instead of the intended 1). Many people have donated money to the advancement of healthcare via this institution only to have it pay for shipping costs (often around $10/book) in receiving & returning 10-11 unwanted book copies over & over again. Double-checking errant keystrokes can be your friend.
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