(12-21 November 2005)
21 November 2005
-Lots to do today before packing up & heading down to Fresno for some office work there. With Em taking off for a two-day stint in Sacramento this morning, we won't see each other till Thanksgiving. Sad. I'm even going to miss her toy safety press conference (becoming an annual tradition for her, this is the third year in a row) as she's doing the one in Sac.
-For the second time since its inception, the Top Visitor Town is off the continent of North America.
-Drew is out of Italics Purgatory, & I'm posting this in part because I forgot to remove him when he told me about it, which was in the podcast last Wednesday. I point it out in part because at least something in each of his last three posts resonated with me, & this is rare in the blogosphere. It also reminds me that I wish Drew posted every day, because it turns out he's one of my favorite bloggers. & congratulations to him on passing the bar exam... he may be the first of my close friends to do so, but I'm almost certain he won't be the last.
20 November 2005
-0-fer again. Forgive me for believing it's time to stop trying on this one.
-Many kinds of shopping can & will take a very long time, but helping Em find new glasses took about the longest. Fortunately, it yielded some really nifty glasses. & I've been wanting her to get a backup pair since we started dating, so I can hardly complain. Having a nice picnic lunch beforehand was fun though.
-DONE with questions for the University Quiz! Soon, hopefully very soon, this page will no longer be a simple place-holder. I'm done with all the questions & 25 of the graphics, leaving 103 graphics & 128 answers to do. Plus I haven't actually coded the question pages, so there's that too. Suffice it to say that my goal of the first week of December (a perfect time to catch those procrastinating on their college finals as well as those working on college apps in high school) is looking unlikely at this point. But I have hopes. I guess mid-January wouldn't be so bad either.
-I think it would be great if everyone in the world could experience just one migraine as a basis for understanding.
19 November 2005
Happy Birthday to Paul Garin IV
-Well my niece was on national television last night, making a 5-second appearance on 20/20. No, she wasn't investigated to have been in an illegal chemical plant operation so much as riding one of the RMI trains listed in the Nieman-Marcus Christmas Book. I won't make the comment that I often make when kids get national media exposure, that their life is peaking at that moment. Because really, it was an uncredited 5 seconds.
18 November 2005
-"Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire" turned out to be a mixed bag for me, & as with the movie before it, I doubt I'll really have a grip on what I thought of it till I see it again, & possibly again after that. Visually, it was spectacular, & their rendition of some of the key scenes I was anticipating was nothing short of exceptional. Yet there was a problem with flow & rhythm, that I think I figured out pretty quickly... they forgot about the school. Yes, a lot happens in the book/movie & they hacked out plot elements like they were lost on the planet Dagoba with only a machete to guide them, but one still can't just cast aside the day to day routine of school. Rowling always makes sure to overwhelm us with updates on the progression of the school year, & this is what makes HP accessible to us, because we all went to school, but none of us (that I know of) studied magic, fought dragons, or transfigured things in high school. That said, the movie was generally fantastic & lived up to most of the excitement I was bringing into it. Opening midnight at the Grand Lake failed to sell out, which was sad, but there was still great energy & brand-new seats from their remodeling, so it was all good. It's interesting, also, to now see things from the other side of the coin as one who has read the books. I know that this will forever make the remaining movies just a bit of a disappointment to me, but of course reading the books will be better.
-Alright all you ends-based crazies who are trying to defend not pulling out of Iraq now, listen up! You're all living under a delusional myth reminiscent of the Weapons of Mass Destruction. Here's the problem: there will never be satisfactory stability in Iraq. Doesn't anyone remember Vietnam & why this war is being compared to that one? Wars against insurgent guerilla forces that really don't care whether they live or die are unwinnable. With every town conquered or insurgent killed, ten more towns & insurgents rise up in anger over this situation. This is like trying to stabilize Israel & Palestine by killing all of one side or the other. So there are really only two roads: pull out now, or stay forever. I think it's clear that the Bushies have been choosing option two for a long time. & for a long time, till this week, they've persuaded a ridiculous number of the rest of America. Don't fall for it, people! Because staying for, say, 5 years, & THEN pulling out is even worse. Cut your losses now. Minimize the exposure, minimize the bitterness, minimize how invested everyone is in the war. Because the longer it goes, the more people "will have died in vain" if there's a pull-out, the more time & money & energy will have been invested. Whenever the US leaves, there will be chaos. Until the US leaves, there will be endless war. There's no way out of such quagmiric violence. This is why we don't solve things with violence & we don't topple governments when the will of the people who would replace that government is not a will we're willing to accept. Because that's the key problem here, folks. The will of the Iraqi people, just like the will of the Vietnamese in the 1960's & 1970's, is with a government that opposes the US. It's not Saddam, but it might be scarier than Saddam to the US establishment. & all this war is about now is making the US the new Saddam, but with fewer controls & cultural ties. You really want to prolong this garbage?
-In doing my research for the University Quiz, which is making good progress but has a long way to go with 128 answers, I've run across a lot of 'Deis stuff. Including the home page of my favorite professor of all-time. I couldn't think of a much more fitting page for Hirsch.
17 November 2005
-I had been thinking it had been really warm lately for November, but only yesterday did I read the article that noted that record highs for these days were being set across the Bay Area by margins of 6 or 7 degrees! It seems it continues to be an awfully warm November 'round here. I attribute this as the key among many reasons for me not internalizing that it's mid-November yet.
-Harry Potter tonight, midnight, at the Grand Lake! I couldn't get much more excited.
16 November 2005
-So in a move that many people thought I should've made at least a year & a half ago (& they're probably right), I have joined the Amazon affiliate program to help promote the Book Quiz books. Now you can buy any of the 64 BQ results directly from the BQ result pages. After reading so many posts about "maybe I should read that book now" from people posting the BQ, I figured it was time to capitalize a little. We'll see...
-More & more, I'm beginning to feel that my trepidation about that potential talk was warranted. What's taking so long?
-Just 36 hours till the best preview of all-time reveals a whole movie! I think it's going to be difficult for me to not get in line at the Grand Lake in the next 24. At least I already have the tickets!
15 November 2005
-Last night I had a panicky dream about not making the most of my final debate weekends. It's actually become an almost recurring dream about being in my senior year in college & doing something other than debate with several weekends in a row & then freaking out about how I'm wasting my last opportunities. It's helpful that after about 5 minutes of being awake, I realize that I debated at the last 50 debate weekends available to me. It's not helpful to realize that none of those weekends are in front of me, & in fact are (gasp!) 3.5 years behind me. But I know I did what I could, which makes this a strange anxiety dream indeed. I think it's just a function of missing it so much.
-Speaking of which, Mark Samburg wrote to let me know that the semester record for 'Deis quals has indeed been matched. Deis sent 2.5 teams to semis at Middlebury & qualled a novice, continuing our ridiculous history of succeeding at pro-am tournaments. In fact, the last time that we qualled at least one person in the year, but did not get to finals at a pro-am tournament was 1999, when I was the novice & Jordan & I fell a ballot short in semis at CCNY. Now I charge the Brandeis debate team with tying or breaking the full year record for quals, which is seven individuals, translating into 5 teams going to Nationals. With a semester & 2 weekends left, & the quality of the squad at this point, I have full faith this team can get to 8 or 9.
-I am a font of endless trivia about Brandeis debate. I should write a book about this.
-Does anyone know anything about RSS? Apparently most official podcasts run on it & I don't know anything about it yet. Time to slog through...
-I think it's time for Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to be President... of the United States.
-Archived 80 days & added the newest graphic up top, which is a bit fuzzy, but it's like I'm feeling these days. It's a computerized alteration of a photo my parents took in Yellowstone. I love my graphic program... the mosaic & colored-pencil (above) features are just amazing.
14 November 2005
-Amy J. Nicholson, a random visitor to the site from Atlanta, sent in a BP Feedback Form to tell me how much I bothered her with my views on the site. Mostly, she noted: "I was not prepared to be faced with politics." I love this attitude. She just wanted to see a cute cartoon with ducks & turtles, & suddenly she had to deal with an anti-war message! Horrors! I just find it troubling that people think I need a sign up on the front door of the Blue Pyramid saying "Warning: Political Views Inside. Because guess what, Amy? The whole world is full of political views. You may think you can stay out & be neutral, but every decision you make & everything you do has political connotations. & just because you're not thinking about the world doesn't mean that the world around you ought not be thinking either. I can deal with those who disagree with me (she goes on to say that "By this cartoon we should have let Hitler have the world"... didn't take her long to get to the H-bomb), but those who do so in a plea for ignorance are going to get ridiculed. Amy says "I came here for the first time today for the quizes, [sic] not to be condemned for supporting just war." Here's a secret, kid... the quizzes are political & even a tad anti-war too.
-In other news, there is indeed a good bit of interest in the BP these days. I'll refrain from saying more until there's some sort of resolution to the issues on the table. Suffice it to say I was taken out of my normal context in a discussion today.
13 November 2005
Happy Birthday to Jennifer Dean
-That old bad feeling appears to be back. & as it always is when it bothers me, I don't know why. I feel all sorts of crazy things on my emotional roller-coaster of an existence, but I almost always know why & find things easily explicable. It's when I don't know & can't explain that I really get worried, especially as the feeling of foreboding intensifies & thickens over days whilst becoming less intelligible. & so I come to where I am now... flipping out for no reason, finding it hard to face each moment, utterly hopelessly nervous, & with no sense of what's going on. See also April 2000 (the last Chicago trip), & I'm sure countless other times for this genre of reality. Sometimes it's a false alarm. Sometimes it's April 2000 & going to Chicago, which was a big mistake. Sometimes it feels like something even worse. Universe, I need either a clue or to feel better.
-There's a mini-installment of the Mep Report up today, the promised cutaway from Mep Rep #4 that includes a serious discussion of evolution & intelligent design. More like debate, less like randomness.
12 November 2005
Happy Birthday to Aubrey Ingraham
-Resolving fights is important & possible. Going for walks is both good & bad. Stability has never been my strong suit.
-I hate driving into cities. I also hate cell phones. Combine the two...
-I like movies. In theaters. Even bad ones.
-Things just keep getting weirder. I wish I knew how.
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