Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Faces made of Glass

A momentary reflection - a beam becomes, temporarily, a face, as eyes hop from meaningless happenstance. Fusiform gyrus calls wolf, proof, disproof, and then amused "proof" again as we "go with it", pass the data to our higher-ups, elegant in our admissions of corruption. "Cats can't see what's on TV", although if they were willing to lie to themselves they could? Are these words even the best frames for our painting? A failure of Bildung, a Weltanschauung with sandy glasses, an expensive Freiheit that nobody agrees upon, they just agree on how to argue. "It is not a term with a definition, it is a framework for discussion", one which rules we have so badly broken at this point that we'll probably never be allowed back into the club - it wouldn't feel right anyhow. Tossed into the cold and told to build our own house with clutter from the streets - resentment enough to fill a dictionary, appreciation of narrow things that can't support our weight.

Just returned from visiting Lizza (and family) in StLouis. Good food, good company, some emotional pain for me that I expected.

  • Food highlight in household: Squash pasta
  • Other food highlight: in a bar, a cheese and beer(?) mix as a dip
  • Travel impressions:
    • Detroit's Airport (stopover on way there) is from about 20 years in the future. Evidence: Everything is well designed, lots of Japanese and Koreans about, in-building train-system bilingual in Japanese (somehow, I am convinced that Japanese will be everywhere in the future)
    • On the way back, my flight was delayed and then cancelled. The airline bought me tickets on another flight that were awesome because
      1. It was a direct flight
      2. It arrived earlier than my two-leg flight would've
      3. They gave me a $100 travel voucher "for my trouble" (which in reality was just a little bit of nervousness over whether I'd make it back today or not) plus a $10 meal voucher
    • Conclusion: I made out like a bandit on the deal
    • Pittsburgh's Airport felt a little bit like home as I arrived. I never really thought of the distinctive feel of Pittsburgh's airport as being part of my "home-ness" here, but I guess it's so. Another something that'll end as this leg of my life closes...
  • Had a lot of good conversations with her family, one with a cousin on perfect markets versus lassiez-faire markets (as a reasoning for government intervention depending on what type of capitalism one advocates), several on trends in computing and convergence in nearby fields, etc.
  • At the bookstore where I got my first Žižek book on my last trip, was disappointed to find their selection of him to be much smaller now, instead bought TheOnion's "Our Dumb World" which I initially thought was terribly funny but on more reading, ... is not that great. Or maybe I'm just not in the mood for comedy.

Miserably cold - there's no excuse for the weather to ever get under 70°F (even at night), and being under 65°F is just uncivilised. The electric heater is struggling to restore my apartment to tolerability. Strange looking around and thinking that all this is now temporary and apart from my laptop, none of it really matters to me. Somehow my most serious objection to Buddhism (assuming simple, secular Buddhism) keeps running around in my head - that to purge oneself of desire entirely both removes all possibility of happiness and alienates one deeply from the world. "Do you think that by playing these games so much, we're hiding from problems in our lives and making some of them worse?", another thought intrudes, memory of saying that to an E.

Looking at the world:

  • I am pleased to see that Howard was replaced as PM by a member of the Labour Party (Australia).
  • Musharraf stepped down as army leader, is now just President of Pakistan. I am concerned that he may not be as strong of a leader with just that position - hopefully the good he's done for the nation will continue.
  • Kasparov, chess genius who's turned out to be an anti-semite and unwholesome in several other ways, continues his foray into politics, recently arrested in a march that broke through police borders.
  • I'm pleased that Europe isn't rolling over for Apple's exclusive deals with phone companies. It would be better yet, I think, to completely ban phone/service bundling though.
  • Belgium's parliament has failed to form a government for a record amount of time, conflict between pro-unity and pro-autonomy groups, divided among lingual lines, being the primary issue
  • Chavez is pushing to politicise OPEC. Abdullah al-Saud's statement, "Oil is an energy for development, it should not become a tool for conflict and emotions" is interesting - not that I think Chavez's threat on behalf of Iran is particularly wise, but rather that the Saudis are saying what amounts to "Money is more important than anything else". It would be more prudent if they had said "This is not a conflict OPEC should be interested in for purposes of intervention" - like the difference between deep pacifism and saying "I cannot support this war"
  • Ban Ki-Moon is stepping up on public discussion on Global Warming. Hopefully he'll have an effect.
  • More news from the mess that was Yugoslavia. I remember having an exchange student from Yugoslavia, back in Middle School, and how he had to go back to his home country very suddenly at some point - I wonder if he's still alive, given all that's happened since. It seems a pity that Tito didn't leave as much of his fingerprints on his nation as Ataturk did on Turkey..
  • Gene Simmons (of KISS fame) is more of a businessman than a musician - the type of person that, I think, society should do their best to stop making. Fiscal reality, in a system like ours, is a necessity to worry about in enterprises, but it should not, ideally, be the dominant care in any business. A passion to serve society's interests/needs should be behind every business and a large part of every business decision. People who dream of making money instead of serving society should be cast out.
  • Another thing that concerns me about Chavez - he's taking high-level politics very seriously, threatening to cut ties with Spain because of a personal spat between him and the Spanish king at a recent trade convention. Worse: As far as I can tell, Chavez started the spat with his own rudeness. Unrelated, an argument that Chavez has the ability and the will to create a world recession.
  • In the US, the FCC is thinking about relaxing its media ownership limits even further.
  • Seems pretty hokey to me - an Italian musician claims there's music in Da Vinci's Last Supper. I suspect we could do tea-leaf reading of other paintings and amuse ourselves until the end of eternity if we embrace this kind of thing.
  • Semi-recent Communist Party Rally in Moscow. One of the most difficult matters for comrades today and in times past is finding some solution to the problem of nations that neither goes the Moscow-centric Comintern route nor the socialism-in-one-country route that Yugoslavia took - the first fails, I think, for not allowing independent exploration of variations in paths/goals (for which we can blame the Sino-Russian split, for starters), the second for failing to care about transforming the world outside its borders. To what degree should socialist nations have integrated and under what kind of power/negotiation relations? Are there stable stances between Tito and Moscow?
  • Abdullah al-Saud and Pope Benedict recently met in Rome
  • Negotiations over Palestine/Israel continue - Jerusalem itself may be up for negotiation, at least in parts. Various nations are pressing strongly for matters of substance to be given concrete solutions at this round as prerequisites for meeting - it'll be interesting to see if that leads to those negotiations not happening or actual change

And a geeky frustration:

FC8 upgrade -- an X issue: FC7's X distro had a synaptics (mous) driver that "just worked" -- it knew when to pretend a middle button click based on chording, and it worked reliably and invisibly with no custom config. Unfortunately, some defaults or magic changed, and I'm tinkering with parameters like EmulateMidButtonTime again, suspecting there's no setting that does things as well as whatever it did before. Grr.


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