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Semiformalishmaybe

Chile con Carnival

Carnival got my spirits up a little bit, so there shall be a post.

Carnival details:

  • Back is very sore because I carried around my giant laptop computer and miscellany for the whole thing. I really don't like being without a computer though.
  • Background of having been feeling very ill and depressed (probably related) for the last few weeks...
  • Thursday:Carnival was just an after-work thing. Some of the booths were pretty neat this year - there was a Goonies booth (I am greatly disturbed that a number of people have never seen Goonies!), a Pokémon booth, etc. I don't really consider myself a KGBer, but a little part of me was still disappointed that KGB's booth wasn't much this year. Oh well. The awesome booths were awesome. I had some Fried Oreos (not particularly interesting) and Nachos with Cheese (predictably tasty). CMU hired a comic who was not funny at all who was there - I only have to assume that the people watching him were either drunk, engaged in other conversations, or have different tastes in comedy than mine.
  • Friday: I didn't work most of the day, spending most of it at carnival. The mobot races are kind of cool in concept, no doubt fun to compete in, but dull to watch (kind of like Golf, really). I deeply regret missing buggy - generally whenever I've seen it it's interested me. I wandered around the booths a lot more, finally got to see the "Chet Vincent" band, which I've been wanting to see for awhile now (and I enjoyed). The band has a former coworker in it - I don't really bump into him very often, but it's nice to know that I can offer honest praise (I've never been comfortable offering false praise). There was then a TGIF, where just a little bit of whiskey got me very drunk and I probably was both way more friendly than was warranted and likely irritated people. There were also some rather tasty apples and cookies. I think this was probably the last thing I've eaten at this point. There was then some more wandering around carnival.
  • Saturday: Battlecake Band is a great video game cover band. Somehow this brought tears to my eyes. Anna Vogelzang is an excellent singer. I caught the beginning of her music, got up to leave, but the lyrics grabbed me enough that I sat back down and was eventually charmed. Good stuff. Then there was a tour of the Gates center that became two tours. The first tour was caused when the mob of people waiting for the tour found that the gate leading to the building was open, and we collectively decided, our guide not being there and the tour having started 15 minutes past, to just wander in and give ourselves a tour. After about 5 minutes of moving together, we spread throughout the building - I saw bits of all the floors wandering alone. The upper floors were not done yet and there were several areas where a complete idiot might've managed to have hurt themselves. A few of us eventually made it to the roof and took lots of great photos. Wandering around, I eventually spied a number of university police cars near the entrance we came in, and quickly started down, soon finding some unhappy campus police who just told us "OUT!". On the way out we found the proper tour group (which had apparently just started very late) and most of us joined up with it. Proper tour group was very boring, only showing 2 floors, but we got nice annotation. Then there was more lonely wandering around the main Carnival area - I have a number of mild acquaintences who showed up, but nobody who ever really wanted to hang out. The night mostly ended with Scotch'n'Soda's showing of 「Me and My Girl」. I initially was put off by a long musical prelude with a piece of cheap scenery, but fortunately the rest of the play was very well produced, with nice singing, an amazingly good set for something done in the UC, and energetic actors (given that this was their third presentation in 3 days, itself awesome for a nonprofessional troupe).

Other stuff:

  • Pondering human nature - what leads to someone being the sort that one is inclined to redirect pain into external-facing acts? Perhaps the urge to redirect pain is inherent to us, and levels of empathy differ greatly between people. I probably don't handle pain in the most healthy way - I tend to absorb it and become reclusive and self-destructive. People who turn it into destructive acts against others probably arn't handling it in the most healthy way either. I suspect that to deal with these things well is a mix of structuring one's life to not have much pain to deal with and finding a mix of inward and outward ways to deal with it. If and how catharsis is sought when pain is present is one of the things that defines a personality..
  • I really like Richard Dawkins - he seems to me to have a good style of how to approach debates on religion, and his views line up reasonably well with mine. I was a little bothered to come across his foundation website which has a disturbing number of pictures of him on its frontpages, almost feeling like a cult of personality .. a bit.
  • I don't particularly like PZ Myers. I think his approach is overly inflammatory and the crowd of people/miniculture around his blog is poisonous (and this is his fault because he encourages them to be that way). In general, I think that if one has a cause and one is having a discussion, one should try to present one's views in a way that is honest, carefuly, and invites others to reconsider their views. PZ Myers fails there - fuming rants against the religious will probably not change a single mind, nor do they really build a community much. The occasional bits of science and the poll-crashing are fine and worthwhile (which are why I keep reading).
  • I've been spending a lot of time wondering, provided I have much more of a future, what it would/could look like.
  • It's interesting thinking up a big list of political people and looking up where the bulk of their campaign contributions came from.
  • Since redoing my network, DNS is curiously slow in my apartment. Given that everything else happens at a decent clip, I am puzzled.
  • I'm glad that I wasn't arrested or fined for the pretour stuff today. I guess doing that to everyone who jumped the gun would be a bit heavy-handed.

Comments

i thought that the KGB booth was really great this year, and it won third place in its division :D i can see where you're coming from in terms of "wasn't much", but what was there was very well executed.

i also found anna vogelzang surprisingly charming. i'm a bit sad i missed the scotch'n'soda play and the "unofficial" gates tour :) the official gates tour i've gone on has convinced me that the gates center is going to be an excellent building.