October 30, 2008

The Right Staples

From Projects

As Katie observed, old things have a distinct and unique smell, similar to all other old things and like nothing else. Old things are a smell island.

We bought four antique chairs, ordered fabric in Charlottesville that mailed quickly and went to Wal-Mart twice to get the right staples (and eventually staple gun). Turns out the chairs had been reupholstered three times already. But this time around will be the most comfortable for we sitters.

Total project cost: ~$140.

For project photos and some before-and-afters, click "projects" below the photo.

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October 27, 2008

Don't need it, don't want it

I get the usefulness of stuff like Location Awareness, but I think features like this will become increasingly invasive and decreasingly opt-out-able.

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October 20, 2008

More politics: Stanley Fish (wrongley) on the two-party system

I just found this blog post from Stanley Fish (Dr. Belt's professor at Johns Hopkins, for those who didn't know). He has a blog on the NYTimes. I think he's generally pretty brilliant. Except this post in question, entitled "Against Independent Voters." You can read it for yourself, and I think you'll probably be just as confused as I am trying to figure out how such a well-educated guy can be so off when it comes to partisan politics. The part that made me cringe most:

Floating independently above the fray and inhabiting the marketplace of ideas as if were a shopping bazaar rather than a battlefield is an unnatural condition. The natural condition is to be political. To be political is to believe something, and to believe something is to believe that those who believe something else are wrong, and after all you don’t want people who believe (and would do) the wrong things running your government. So you organize with other like-minded folks and smite the enemy (verbally) hip and thigh. You join a party.

What do independent voters do? Well, most of all, they talk about the virtue of being an independent voter. When they are asked to explain what that means, they say, “I can’t stand the partisan atmosphere that has infected our politics” (forgetting that politics is partisan by definition); or “we like to make up our own minds and don’t want anyone telling us what to do (as if Democrats and Republicans were sheep eager to go over whatever cliff the leadership brings them to) or (and this was a favorite of those interviewed in Iowa and New Hampshire), “We vote the person rather than the party."

Maybe he doesn't realize that the political parties of today don't get everything right and that if there were more than two important parties we'd have a lot less independents?

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October 16, 2008

Politics is the mind-killer

Politics is the mind-killer. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back. If you abide within that pattern, policy debates will also appear one-sided to you - the costs and drawbacks of your favored policy are enemy soldiers, to be attacked by any means necessary.

One should also be aware of a related failure pattern, thinking that the course of Deep Wisdom is to compromise with perfect evenness between whichever two policy positions receive the most airtime. A policy may legitimately have lopsided costs or benefits. If policy questions were not tilted one way or the other, we would be unable to make decisions about them. But there is also a human tendency to deny all costs of a favored policy, or deny all benefits of a disfavored policy; and people will therefore tend to think policy tradeoffs are tilted much further than they actually are.
That's Eliezer Yudkowsky on one-sided policy debates, at Overcoming Bias, a truly excellent blog.

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October 15, 2008

Wayne on Superpoop

Seeing this lolphoto on Superpoop (MTS sister site), I was prompted to Google Wayne Coyne.

Do this: Go to Google.com and type "wayne coyne" (don't hit enter) and look at the top search suggestion in the dropdown.

Ironically, the dropdown has different suggestions for Jim Morrison, Keith Richards, Lou Reed, and even Steven Drozd, a Lips member whose heroin habits almost killed him. Conversely, it's been 20 years since Wayne's last psychedelic experience.

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October 11, 2008

Dirty Water

Our to-do list fluctuates daily, but the apartment is steadily more livable. We've ventured into the city's commercial sectors the past two weekends, finding that few things make it directly to town. We've got consignment and discount and overstock and antique and junk stores. We've got a permanent flea market where tractor trailers become stores each weekend.

And we've got a dirty river. Official warning: wash after playing in the South River.

I've upload new photos, so take a look: Design & Art, Projects, Virginia.

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October 10, 2008

The 2008 Yearbook Presents...

"'That's spunky,' said our new friend."

"If Hillsdale College is the great citadel of Liberty, Truth and Beauty, then Galloway dorm is assuredly the inner keep."

"The end of the cigarette glows at the end of the night, as the sculptor's eyes roves across the clay figure."

My personal favorite: "Sparks of fairydust glittered in the air of bathrooms in Olds dorm..."

"Then there was the MAGNFIQUE Opera trip."

"I find myself listening to the words of the song I had subconciously been humming while on my hunt for sustenance: 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' (by U2--for those poor souls unfamiliar with the song). While I never did find what I was looking for, the wisdom of my subconscious proved inherent."

And finally: "Congratulations Seniors! ... Kayle Janke..."

An Opening Band That DOESN'T Suck

The Walkmen rocked Walter's on Washington tonight in Houston. It's a dive in the most literal sense of the word: nothing more than a bar and a short (maybe 4 ft high, 20x10...not sure how all the Walkmen fit on said stage with a piano and two horn players, but they did it somehow).

Anyhow, opening for the Walkmen were a Houston band called The Young Mammals. Aside from being the goofiest looking band I've ever seen (think if Emrys/ Napoleon Dynamite was playing guitar in a band with hipster Mexican kids, and the lead singer looked kinda like John Leguizamo), I found out, after a little digging, that they also have the distinction of being sometime members of The Mathletes. Yes, that Mathlete.

They're actually a pretty good band, almost like what the Walkmen would sound like with no piano and more feedback. Plus, they all looked like they were in high school. Which is always a plus.

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October 7, 2008

No more fireflies?

I didn't see a single firefly this year. Have they gone the way of the bees?

Fall break starts tomorrow, I was just given a huge bag of puppy chow, internship applications and job queries are scheduled for the rest of the week, and I get a one week vacation from The Collegian.

And just because the rest of this is going to be a bit of a link dumping-ground post, here is a passage from The Wanderer that Erin Tabor and I translated from Old English. We used Wiktionary a lot during the translation process:

Forþon wat se þe sceal his winedryhtnes
leofes larcwidum longe forþolian,
ðonne sorg ond slæp somod ætgædre
earmne anhogan oft gebindað.
þinceð him on mode þæt he his mondryhten
clyppe ond cysse, ond on cneo lecge
honda ond heafod, swa he hwilum ær
in geardagum giefstolas breac.
ðonne onwæcneð eft wineleas guma,
gesihð him biforan fealwe wegas,
baþian brimfuglas, brædan feþra,
hreosan hrim ond snaw, hagle gemenged.
þonne beoð þy hefigran heortan benne,
sare æfter swæsne. Sorg bið geniwad,
þonne maga gemynd mod geondhweorfeð;
greteð gliwstafum, georne geondsceawað
secga geseldan. Swimmað eft on weg!

"I assure thee that without the valued teaching of his lord and friend he therefore endured grief and sleepiness for a long time.
In miserable anxiety his heart often experienced dreams of his former home where, at times, he cherished and kissed his liege-lord while kneeling at his throne.
Thereafter, he awoke, again a friendless man, seeing in his dark path a snowstorm mixed with hail and a seabird rising and stretching its wet wings to attack. Therefore, the wounds and oppression renewed him.
Painfully, after his pleasure, his sorrow became renewed. The man's thoughts passed through his mind and he earnestly greeted his lord thoroughly and swiftly swam again toward his journey."


Newspapers are on the move.
+ The Wall Street Journal's face shows it.
+ The Chicago Tribune and The Tampa Tribune and The Boston Herald chose stacked flags in their redesigns.
+ The Hartford Courant looks new and neat.
+ Charticles are on the rise. But do they threaten narrative journalism?
+ Play some Sarah Palin Bingo.
+ Check out Kuler.
+ Jay Walker's library.
+ "Trumpet Trumpet Toot II".

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October 6, 2008


Seriously, what's the deal with modern literature/music and pronouns with no antecedents?