July 25th, 2006

Semiformalishmaybe

Music Borne by Honey

That was a really weird dream. Early: I was helping my mom move. Later: I was part of a huge crowd of people taking the bus to theatre, on the 59U, and after I made it I got notice that the 61C had broken down and wasn't being repaired/replaced. My sisters were there in fancy dresses, and I had a great suit, but my hat hadn't arrived yet (in the same having-ordered-it state in real live), so I summoned it, tracing my finger in the air around where the brim would be. I needed to go to the bathroom though, and when I got up and went back to the changing area, I slipped over a visible border into another dream, where I was being chased, with Captain Crunch (looked exactly as he does in the cartoon commercials), through a place that looked vaguely like my old elementary school but with some parts full of cereal boxes, by a psychotic cereal collector. The place was big enough that we could easily lose the psycho for several days, and we were looking for a place to hide out that had real food because even Captain Crunch didn't want to eat nothing but his cereal for that long. Hmm.. oh, and my father was at opera with us and nothing seemed to be wrong between us. Weird.

Last night, instead of going home and running, or watching a movie, or reading, or even making some tea, I just craashed hard, falling asleep moments after making it through the door.

An interesting snippet of text I swiped from Slashdot:


No, the across-the-board "either you're rich enough to have lawyers or are a peon" doesn't apply to every capitalist country in the world, but seems to be largely a USA issue. In a sense it's the price you pay for the culture of not trusting your own government, or for that matter for ending up with a government which you can't trust. Unfortunately, then, yes, your only recourse are lawyers, and that's why in the USA they breed like rabbits.

Down here in Europe most things aren't solved by class action lawsuits, but by having a set of laws regarding the consumers' rights, and some government agencies whose job is to enforce those. If a company tried to screw me over, believe me, I wouldn't do any of the three options you describe. Instead I'd go to a consumer rights bureau ("Verbraucherzentrale") and see what they have to say about it. Because it's their job and are backed by the government. They can have a lot more teeth than a lawyer, if it's warranted.

In a sense, it's the difference between having an organized police force and wild-west each-man-for-himself vigilante justice. The USA seems still stuck at the point where your rights and protection are determined by whether you can hire a posse to fight for them. Only now it's the more expensive lawyers with ties and briefcases, instead of desperados with sombreros and Winchester guns. Most of the rest of the world moved over to more efficient model of having a centralized "police" equivalent.

And let me stress that again: it's not just that it's more fair (I could get help even if I didn't have a dime to pay for a lawyer's advice), it's also more efficient for society as a whole. You don't have to feed armies of lawyers when a handful of government officials can do the same job _and_ serve as a better deterrent. A company can imagine they'll smoke _me_ with legalese gibberish, or bully me into submission, or just hope that I don't want to pay a lawyer. But they will know from the start that they're never going to bully the government into submission, and that there'll be someone there who reads legalese as fluently as it gets and knows if what is in there is legal or not.

If you will, it's like in the police vs everyone-with-his-own-posse analogy again. A police is more efficient than everyone hiring his own desperados to guard his ranch, because it _doesn't_ have to actually send policemen to stand guard on every ranch. Just the knowing that that police force exists is enough of a deterrent for 99% of the population.


Maybe tonight after dinner (at a friend's house, yay!) I'll try my new running shoes...? Unless I fall asleep again or try to make it to a philosophy group I haven't attended for a long time.. the topic is interesting: "Network Neutrality". I'm not sure if I feel like arguing with some of the people there though.

It's always neat when I see people who don't know each other talking to each other on my blog. It feels almost as neat as when I introduce people I know to each other and they get along. Not quite the same, but similar.

To work!

Semiformalishmaybe

Crepe Crepe Revolution

Yesterday for dinner I couldn't decide where to go -- everyplace felt old and uninteresting. Eventually I came across Turquoise, which is a local Turkish shop, and grabbed some take-out from there. Baklava seems to be one of those things that, despite being oversweet, I really like. As some of you who know me in person know, I call it J.S., as part of a bad pun (J.S. Bachlava). Turquoise has a pretty neat selection of food, and it also feels delightfully foreign, with an ambiance much like some Turkish shops I went to in Europe, "learn English" and "learn Turkish" signs competing with each other on the wall, and a storekeeper speaking rapidly in Turkish to another customer. Still, I'm having wanderlust again.. although it's not exactly wanderlust, more like "move-lust", as in more thoughts that I should leave Pittsburgh for someplace new. I think in about a year or so I likely will do that.

Today for lunch, I returned to the wonderful Crepes place on Craig. Their dessert crepes arn't as good as their lunch crepes, although perhaps that rating is because I don't tend to like desserts very much anymore. The subtleties of flavour in meal-type food is more interesting than the "W@u!! SW33Tz0R!" appeal of candy.. that, and I don't want to turn into one of the increasingly frequent fat/disgusting/nauseating people I see around town. Returning to the Crepes topic, the Spinach-cheese (meal) crepe is wonderful.

Mmm.. food.

Upcoming:

  • Goodbye gathering for three coworkers in my group who are all leaving at the same time (one to law school, one returning to China, and one following his gf to another university)
  • Indian festival on Sunday at Flagstaff Hill, with much food and showing of Gandhi
  • Possibly climbing, if I have the time
  • Thursday after the coming one: Leave for Wikimania in Boston. Hooplah!
  • Recieve hats. Huzzah!
Semiformalishmaybe

Tentacled Youth


I have somehow lived through 28 years of life and avoided hearing about blossom tea.. until now. Beautiful and tasty, the only downside is that it's expensive.

Every time I hear the song "Deutschland", by the Prinzen, I wish that the United States had a similarly popular song with an equivalent topic. The lyrics are in German, although there's an English translation available at that site. I believe that such songs both highlight and combat (through mockery) national pride, something that I think America is sorely in need of in present times. I suspect that such a work would recieve a much more through ban than the Dixie Chicks had for their criticism of BushJr. America is a country in need of harsh art, like a morbidly obese person in need of an honest mirror. America is ugly right now, and needs to change (unlike my tea, which is pretty).