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It's time to take this bull by the horns and milk it.

Thoughts and observations of an Enneagram Type 7 INFP Beatles fan. I prefer baths to showers, late nights to early mornings, cats to dogs, and Mary Ann. The perfect blog for all featherless bipeds.

Gooblek is a 2-to-1 suspension of cornstarch in water. It acts like a liquid if you move it slowly, but a solid if you hit it or squeeze it. Click below for info on Asparagus Pee.

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The Political Compass

Another Reason Bush Keeps Winning

Daddy's Little Philosopher, Part II

Rotating face mask

Teachers, community spar over budget cuts

Who is this Paul Graham?

Why We Have Kids

Hardees new Monsterthickburger

Another Miracle?

The Sneeze - Half zine. Half blog. Half not good with fractions.

My Newest Original Joke

On a lighter note...

17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists

Son of Free Elliott Smith CDs

Mr. Bush

I Will if You Will™

Ennui is better than Malaise

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Monday, November 29, 2004
The Political Compass

Based on a test over at The Political Compass, it's official — I'm a left-leaning libertarian. I am in the same quadrant with Ghandi and the Dalai Lama.

Friday, November 26, 2004
Another Reason Bush Keeps Winning

It occurred to me the other night that one thing that the Bush people have done really well is to appeal to the lowest common denominator by working Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs from the bottom up. See, it's like a pyramid with a broad base and a narrow top, that leads from the most basic physiological needs like food, shelter and clothing, up through safety and security issues, feelings of belonging, etc., until you ultimately reach self-actualization or even trancendence.

It really seems like the Repubican Party does a good job of answering "what's in it for me?" and the Democrats lose a lot of people with all the talk of saving the environment from global warming, providing safety through strategic disarmament, and raising taxes to balance the budget and provide better services.

I suppose all politicians have tried to make people feel like they're going to have more money, and the economy is going to get better, and they'll protect us from terrorists, and keep the criminals off the street, and we're the best rah-rah-rah, and God Bless Us All. But gosh he's good at it. Or Karl Rove is.

And gosh darn it, "a chicken in every pot," just isn't good enough.

Daddy's Little Philosopher, Part II

The Hand of Animation by Alan Dixon Earlier this week, Emily caught a glimpse of the infinite. She was playing in the bathtub with a paint brush of the watercolor variety, and the paint was flaking off the wooden handle.

"What are those black flakes in your bathwater," I asked.

"That's just some paint off my paint brush. We'd have to use another paint brush to fix it. I guess they used another paint brush to paint it when they made it.

(Light dawns over blonde pigtails.)

And they had to use another paint brush to paint that paint brush, and another paint brush to paint that one, and another paint brush, and another and another and another and another, and it just keeps going like that forever!"

Rotating face mask

If you've never seen the optical illusion created by a Rotating face mask, you should go have a look. There are a lot of other fine illusions over at Michael Bach's Optical Illusions & Visual Phenoman.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Teachers, community spar over budget cuts

See ya in the funny papers!Because of my involvement in the budget committee that is addressing the budget crisis in our elementary school district, I woke up this morning to find my picture on the top of the front page of the local paper: Teachers, community spar over budget cuts.

My life is becoming increasingly surreal.

Monday, November 22, 2004
Who is this Paul Graham?

Just spent some time over on Paul Graham's website, and I'm going to spend some more. It's some of the best stuff I've ever read on the topic of design, like this passage under "Good Design is Strange" in the essay about Taste:

I'm not sure why. It may just be my own stupidity. A can-opener must seem uncanny to a dog. Maybe if I were smart enough it would seem the most natural thing in the world that e^i*pi=-1. It is after all necessarily true.

Saturday, November 20, 2004
Why We Have Kids

The Lady Janet went to San Francisco today, so I got to spend the whole day with Emily. We had so much fun, and it was really cool.

Because her kindergarten class did a whole thing on the original Thanksgiving feast this week, we got to play "Indians." She made me pick out an Indian name, and I chose "Runs-with-Cats," but "Princess Clearwater" insisted that I make it "Chief Runs-with-Cats," and I hate to admit it, but that kinda works for me.

Then we did all kinds of things, like painting each others faces (to look like cats), making a placemat for me to use at the feast exactly like the one she brought home from school, and having a "campfire" around a candle.

But it got really cool when we went to have the "feast," which was a grilled cheese sandwich, and the dialogue went like this:

Chris: Does our tribe like our sandwiches cut into triangles or straight across?

Emily: In half.

Chris (demonstrating): Diagonally like this? (lays knife from corner to corner) or straight like this? (lays knife straight across the center)

Emily: Straight. Our tribe doesn't use any diagonals. They don't even have a word for "diagonal." When you say "diagonal" to them, they just hear "blah-bla-blah-bla-blah."

That's my girl! (Benjamin Lee Whorf would be so proud.)

Friday, November 19, 2004
Hardees new Monsterthickburger

Those of you who've been with me for awhile will recall that I have long predicted a lashback against the current diet craze, and have suggested a product line called Sugar-Salted Fat that would appeal to the rebels among us.

Well, it looks like Hardees is on board with this concept. I present the Hardees 2/3 lb. Monster Thickburger™

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Another Miracle?

Alright, I guess this does look a little like Madonna!I think my faith has finally been restored by this grilled cheese sandwich that bears the image of the Virgin Mary. (Brother.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The Sneeze - Half zine. Half blog. Half not good with fractions.

Very interesting little thing over at The Sneeze.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

My Newest Original Joke

Q: Why has Attorney General John Ashcroft resigned from the Bush Administration?

A: He no longer has the gall for it.

Friday, November 05, 2004
On a lighter note...

I saw something really funny on the way in to work this morning. There was a Jeep coming up the road out of the American River canyon with one of those dark plastic sunshade-banner thingies across the top of its windshield. It looked like it was upside down, but what it said was:

If you can read this, please flip me over!!!

17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists

It's worth a jaunt over to I found several things Michael said to be helpful to me, among them:

14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out -- and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th grade -- you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.

15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and arrogant -- and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of such major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from office.

I've quoted more than I planned to because these two go together, but I figure it's OK, since MM said it was OK to download his whole freakin' movie.

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Son of Free Elliott Smith CDs

I forgot that nobody but me cares about Elliott Smith, so I'm going to revise the rules on the contest just a bit:

I will give away three copies of From a Basement on the Hill to the first three people who ask me nicely.

I'm pretty sure you can reach me through a link on my blogger profile... just click on my picture. If that doesn't work, leave a comment or sign my guestbook, and I promise I'll get back to you.

Mr. Bush

I really am going to try to rally behind Mr. Bush, but I think, perhaps, the best thing I read today was, and I'm paraphrasing as well as stealing because I'm too lazy to go back and look it up, "He's not just misunderestimated, now he's unredefeated."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
I Will if You Will™

I was watching Fear Factor™ awhile ago, and I think I have just come up with an idea for the best "reality" show ever. It's called I Will if You Will, and here's how it works:

The host, like Jeff Probst from Survivor™ or Joe Rogan from Fear Factor™, asks a bunch of people to do really stupid stuff, like eating bugs or walking on glass or going to Iraq, and the rule is that at any point during a single episode, the group can confer and any contestant can say the magic words, "Hey, Jeff, I will if you will," and the host has to do it or they all win.

It gets better.

See, the players can only pull their trump card out once, so they have to decide at each point whether it's better to eat the bug and wait for something really bad, like walking a tightrope between two buildings, and the host has to be prepared to do this week after week. The other rule that's absolutely necessary is that the producers file a script with some accounting firm like Earnst & Young that describes each stunt request in detail, and they can't deviate from the script, or everybody wins.

This is, of course, an un-thinly-veiled, not-so-carefully-caged metaphor for being The President, but it's also a reaction to listening to Joe just now telling someone walking on a bed of glass, "Oh! Dude! Don't twist your foot! You're gonna cut yourself, man," and it's also a really good idea for a reality show that you are welcome to steal freely.

See, I don't have the resources to make it happen, but I'd love to watch it, and that's how ideas are supposed to work.

Ennui is better than Malaise

Don't mind me, I'm just venting..."Existential Angst" has become such a cliché that I'm forced to put it in quotes, but it sure describes how I've felt today.

One of the bad things about being relatively smart is that your vocabulary is too big to let yourself just have "the blahs," so you spend the day wallowing in a swirling dung-heap of German, French, and Latinate roots and spouting psycho-babble and imagining you've developed acute anhedonia.

I've read a number of M. Scott Peck's books, and since I've forgotten more than most people ever know, I remember very little, but two things stuck with me:

The first is that he opens The Road Less Travelled with the simple statement, "Life is hard."

The second is that he described something called cathexis that I really identify with, pun intended. See, cathexis is the investment of psychological energy into ideas, objects, groups, and people. In simplistic terms, if something has sentimental value to you, then you cathect it. I just think of it as caring about something, the way I actually "love" my old '89 Honda Accord, or worry about my aquarium or my vegetable garden – it's crazy! I mean, why should I care about whether other people appreciate Elliott Smith (a lot), if I don't care about who won the last Superbowl (at all)? Here is why: I love Elliott Smith's music, and I've come to identify myself with it, and taken it into myself, and I want you to love me, so you have to love Elliott too. And because I was a scrawny brainiac, football is anathema to me. (I told you this stuff was crazy.)

Here's another way to look at it. Cathexis is kind of like the opposite of catharsis. Catharsis is how you get things out, like screaming into a pillow or kicking the dog. Cathexis is how you invite things in, and I'm a cathexis junkie.

Unfortunately, cathecting things takes time. It's a lot faster and easier not to do something than to do it. It's easier to have a weed patch than a garden. It's easier to not have an aquarium than to have one. Life is hard, you don't get something for nothing, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and you really have to try, but no less a man than Homer J. Simpson said it best when he told his kids, "Trying is the first step towards failure."

So I'm planning to take some time to rethink what I've chosen to identify with and care about and try.

And with that, dear reader, I believe my catharsis is complete.

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