December 12th, 2007

Semiformalishmaybe

Urban Lumberjack

He had out a bandsaw and was halfway up a light pole, sawing away. He looked down, saw me staring, and sighed. "I'm an Urban Lumberjack, this is what we do. What? Are you some kind of conservationist?" A few more saws... "I'm gathering important resources so we can continue development... Surely you see how that's important..." A bit more sawing... "The damage is excusable..." and the pole started to fall, landing on the street, crushing a few cars with sparks shooting out from where it had been cut, the power in the neighbourhood going out a moment later. He rubbed his hands briskly and started to come down.

There are times when, depending on how much else is going on in my head at the time, I can be dense to body language or lack the courage to act on instinct. Sometimes the pieces come together later on and it's one of those wonderful hand-on-head moments. I am sure this experience is common.

At work, I keep worrying that things will fall apart when I am gone. I realise that I theoretically should be worrying about my future and my life instead, but.. I guess it's a nice distraction. There's so much knowledge to pass on, and judgement itself can't be passed on either, being close to instinct. I would love to have the time to put together course materials for a class on systems administration (although the idea of putting together course materials for a class on any CS (or other topics I'm qualified to teach in) topic would be a thrill).

Manischewitz soups are almost as disgusting as Manischewitz wine. I am impressed - one of the worst soups I've ever had. It somehow smells nice, which makes the taste very surprising. They should stick to making Matzoh (which is fairly hard to get wrong).

It's sometimes weird watching some people fail at social interactions - how they don't get the feedback that some styles of interaction, schtick, tone, etc, don't work and make them disliked, so they'll never correct these things. Mental blindness is something I've often wondered about - if one can't see the cues, how could one possibly adapt except by finding brutally honest people (who are pretty rare, I've come to find) to point these things out? Collapse )

I was recently weirded out that the visual gimmick used on the cover of Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being, a floating hat (possibly over an empty suit), is also used by Signet Classics' printing of HG Wells' Invisible Man.

  • Current Music
    Jonathan Coulton - When You Go
Semiformalishmaybe

Art for Sake's Sake

Conflict: (Art: As communication V Art: As aesthetic exploration) - should we think less of art that has little or no communicative intent and is largely an exploration of aesthetics? What does it mean to have public support of arts - is it equivalent to providing a podium for people to speak about what they like? With that funding, are we concerned with advances in aesthetics or facilitating communication? Compare to times when sponsorship of the arts was done largely through patronage.. Position: providing means and funds for all types of expression is healthy for society. Means and funds for aesthetics are also important - unsure which is more important. Question: Is a work of art with little/no communicative intent necessarily not fine art? Are communicativity, the artesian/art divide, fine art/art/craft all orthogonal to each other as criteria for the field(s)?

Lightly related, I think it's unfortunate that efforts are taken to prevent skateboarding in public places - Collapse )

Pragmatic definitions in philosophy and law: Collapse )

General comment: Issue with direct popular rule in forming legal framework (not a problem where established legal system provides a default framing for questions) - concern for consistency not necessarily there. Collapse )