2/25/2003

2-25-03 - 1

2-25-03

The anti-war response of liberal politicians is so fucking pathetic. All they do is call for a UN resolution. All of them cave and say that if the UN approved invasion, they would support it. What does it matter if the UN approves this bloody charade? It makes it no better, no more justified, no more moral. It only means that our influence managed to coerce various other corrupt nations into approving our actions.

2/23/2003

2-23-03 - 1

2-23-03

New tunes from the used bins at BooBoos - Ikara Colt, The Catheters, Cinerama. Not bad stuff. Listened to the Derailers for a while, not quite hitting the spot. I love the country rock twang, especially old school and Elvislike the way they are, but it needs to be a little bit harder, more punk, less lounge.

2/22/2003

2-22-03 - 1

2-22-03

This is the age of ridiculous company names. We now have Agilent, Lucent, Experian, Accenture, etc. which were once respectable ordinary names like HP, AT&T, TRW, Andersen. And, as Aaron at work wisely noted, this is the age of pastel colors in computer UI. It's like those god-awful rounded cars. Give me primary colors! Give me big old companies with guys who wear short-sleeve dress shirts! Give me a big boxy Lincoln, with the shape of a cigarette pack!

2/11/2003

2-11-03 - 2

2-11-03

It strikes me that the US government is rather like a good Mafia boss. A Mafia boss is very clever; he never commits any crimes himself. He's a "legitimate businessman". If his associates happen to commit crimes, hey, he didn't want them to do it, they made that decision on their own. Just because he introduced the hitman to the gun smuggler, doesn't mean he was giving arms to killers, he didn't know what they were going to do with the guns.

I've been amused lately to see many of the things I've always considered cool becoming mainstream pop-culture. This happens all the time, but it's kind of interesting what's at work. I imagine it's because the people who grew up at the same time as me are now becoming the designers and making the decisions, so those people grew up with the same movies, the same pop stars, the Vision skate-wear, the Vans and Converse, etc. They have the same background aesthetic, the same collective subconscious, so they tend to like and design the same thing. People often think "I'm so cool, I liked that way before it became popular", well yeah, so did millions of people, including the designers who made and pushed the product. Of course, as you get older, the opposite starts to happen; the people who are similar to you start leaving the pop-culture world, getting replaced by the new generation who has grown up with something different. Then pop-culture starts to become strange and alien to you. Getting old stinks.

I did see a cool interview with Norman Mailer on Charlie Rose the other day. Best thing in the interview - Norman talked about growing old. He said that in your youth, you are constantly struggling to be something you are not - trying to "grow", be more than you can be, do things that don't come naturally. In your old age, you finally relax, you realize that you're probably not going to be anything other than what you are. You're not really "ok" with that, but you accept it, and that brings peace and clarity.

2-11-03 - 1

2-11-03

Back to Iraq - did I mention that it's completely preposterous to think that we're doing this for the benefit of the world? Why does the intellectual liberal establishment go along with it? Are they really idiots? Is it really a corrupt cadre of people in the pocket of the government (as Chomsky suggests)? It's really hard to explain without believing the worst. I'm finding it hard to read the New York Times these days - they're supposed to be liberal, but now all the articles just take this Iraq BULLSHIT so seriously.

Let's review a bit of history - these are facts - Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq in 1968 by staging a coup d'etat of the semi-democratic regime. This was done with the help and support of the US Government, as is common. The US wanted a client state in the Middle East, primarily because of fear of Iran and Saudi Arabia, which they considered dangerous and hard to control. Saddam Hussein at that point already had a history of violence, having tried to assasinate the Iraqi Prime Minister in 1959. Once in power, Saddam received support and arms from the United States. Iraq was given trade priveledges by various US governments (Carter, Bush Sr.), welcomed to the white house. Both Carter and Bush called him a "great man" and such garbage. In the mean time, Saddam was busy locking up polticial opponents in Iraq, and working on a genocide of the Kurdish people. Tens of thousands of Kurds were killed with poison gas and other weapons, and much of the Kurdish population fled Iraq to Turkey (see later). In 1980, Iraq attacked Iran. This matter becomes complicated, it's not exactly clear just how involved to US government was. We initially gave and sold arms to Iraq to support them against Iran, and sent CIA agents to train their commanders. Later the whole Ollie North/Reagan thing happened and we gave arms to Iran in return for releasing the hostages. Iran suffered the much greater casualties of the two, having received much bombing from Iraq's US-supplied arsenal of missiles and poisons. Throughout this, Iraq and Saddam Hussein were our good buddy. There was no talk of "evil-doing". Finally in 1990 things went south. Famously, our government made some remarks which seemed to indicate to Hussein that we would look the other way if he invaded Kuwait. Some people find this so hard to believe that I'm forced to include a link to some of the transcript. Why then did we attack Iraq to get them out of Kuwait? That's more complicated. I estimate that it was basically because we decided that Saddam was becoming too difficult for us to control. We wanted a client state, not an independent one, so we decided to fuck with them. The primary result of the gulf war, of course, has been the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians due our destruction of infrastructure and impoverishment of the nation. In fact, during the embargo after the war, the US fought hard to keep food and medicine from getting into the country, and even when we did allow it, we made sure a large portion of it was high-priced American product. Here's a bit of history : from asia , and there's lots more if you search a bit. You have to get past all the crap from the American journalists.

Now back to a side comment. The Kurds fled Iraq into Turkey, because of US-sponsored terrorism by Saddam. Turkey, of course, has been our good friend for quite some times. We've sold them a huge amount of arms (subsidized by the American taxpayer), second only to Israel. In turn the Turkish government has been violent and oppressive. Their invasion of Cyprus was historically brutal, and to this day they lock up and torture anyone who speaks out against the government. Political prisoners are held for any length of time with no trial, or perhaps a show trial. In the mean time, the Turkish government has been going about its own slaughter of the Kurds. The US government once again is helping with the slaughter to this very day. The Kurds of course are "dangerous rebels" which must be controlled by the Turks (just like the people of East Timor were controlled by the Indonesians). We will continue to look the other way in Turkey, because we need them as a power base in the Middle East. We prefer to use them instead of improving relations with Saudi Arabia, mainly because they are less powerful, so we can control them better. Good information on Turkey and the Kurdss is a bit difficult to come buy because the oppressed are rather fanatical themselves. This seems to be a decent page . By ignoring/supporting this attrocity, our government makes it completely clear that we have no interest what-so-ever in human rights. We care only for our interests.

Better watch out, I might be taken to Guantanamo...

2/10/2003

2-10-03 - 2

2-10-03

It's just struck me that the whole idea of live music is rather strange. The basic premise of live music goes like this : people go out to hang out and hear music; the band wants to play, put the two together. The idealist might say that the band are trying to share their vision/message/art and the audience wants to partake of it, but that's rare enough that it has no real bearing on the typical "live music" event. The funny thing is when you think about what's really going on at both ends of the equation :

The Audience - doesn't really care that much about music; aren't particularly great music lovers, and really the band's not very good anyway, and the audio system in this joint sucks. We could all hear better music at home. So, it's not about the music. Ideally in a punk show, it would be about some interaction of the band and the audience, and a release, and getting crazy and dancing and whatnot. But why is the audience out at a bar at all? It's not to hear music, it's not to get drunk (that's cheaper at home) - it's to hang out with other people, it's to get out of the house, have some fun, do something in the evening. So why are we in this shitty bar listening to a shitty band? Why are our only choices of evening entertainment bands?

The Band - don't really care the much about music; they probably weren't too great at other things in their lives, so they're not doctors or sports stars or whatever, so they did something else; they wanted to hang out with their mates, and being in a band together was a good way to do it; being in a band is one of the few ways to have a real communal experience with a bunch of guys, to fullfill homo-erotic longing for intimacy; maybe some of the band members wanted the groupies and the social life of the band, but this isn't so much about the music as the side effects of being in the bar scene, meeting girls and whatnot.

I think the club/music/bar scene in the Western World is pretty stuck in a rut. It's not what anyone really wants. Being yet another band is pretty lame, pretty old hat (granted, it's fun). What people really want is a communal experience.

2-10-03 - 1

2-10-03

Freaking Levis changed their jeans. I've been wearing 501 jeans, size 34x34, for the past ten years. Each time one pair would wear out (and "wear out" means so many holes that the jeans have become like a few patches of cloth held together with strands) I would just go buy another pair of exactly the same thing. A few days ago I just did that again. I got home, washed the jeans (trying on jeans before washing them is pointless), and was surprised to find the damn jeans aren't the same. They're like looser, the fabric is stretchier. Now, maybe you're thinking "you're crazy, your body's changed". No, not at all. I'm replacing a previous pair and these are *looser* than the previous pair. New jeans should be much much tighter than a pair that are well worked-in. In fact, I believe new jeans should be too tight to wear, even on a guy. You should loosen them through wear, wearing them at home for a while before they're broken in enough to be decent to wear out. Funny how I curse the capitalist machinima, but when they change one of my favorite products I rant and rave about it.

2/09/2003

2-09-03 - 2

2-09-03

I can't even watch freaking Charlie Rose anymore. He's become a puppet of the nefarious Bush apparatus. I just watched the egomaniac Charlie telling the great and wild Hunter S. Thompson that the impending war is about bringing freedom to the Middle East. WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT! Anyone who thinks that this war is being conducted for the benefit of the Iraqi people is a FREAKING MORON. The United States has never EVER done anything in foreign affairs for the benefit of the other people. Look at our history - look at the ongoing atrocities all over the world. Just as a tiny example, the Ivory Coast is a country that is on the verge of destabilizing. At the moment it is semi-democratic, but any day now it's going to break out in a civil war that will split on religious lines and lead to massacres. That is a situation where a bit of intervention could save a whole country without even a war, just a bit of stabilization. Are we doing a damn thing? Hell no. We're far more likely to sell arms to both sides than to prevent a conflict. How can a reasonable person talk about "Is Bush trying to bring peace ot the Middle East?" That question is ridiculous, it's stupid to even ask! More like "What is Bush trying to gain for himself and his cronies?". Of course you start with Oil, but we also get a power base in the Middle East, maybe a nice puppet government (we love puppet governments; we made them all over South and Central America), re-election, distraction from domestic problems, funding for the military-industrial establishment, etc. etc. Damn that Charlie Rose. Damn him. And damn that Condoleeza Rice too.

2-09-03 - 1

2-09-03

Nice cars of the moment - Infiniti G35 Coupe, Subaru Impreza WRX, Acura CL Type-S. The Lexus SC430 is pretty damn sweet, but it's just a bit too ugly. BMW has discontinued their M Roadster which was their greatest price/performance/beauty car; you have to go with a Z4 or Z8 now, but the Z8 is way too expensive and the Z4 is underpowered for the cost.

2/07/2003

2-07-03 - 1

2-07-03

Reporting from the front line, the US War on Terror against itself - today one of the casualties of this war has become bitingly clear to me. With the massive budget shortfalls affecting the country and the states, tuition in public colleges is being severely raised. In New York and California, many of the cheapest public colleges are drastically raising tuition because their funding from the state is being cut off. The result is that tuition changes from a very low $1000/year to $5000/year. This difference is not much to the wealthy, but it's catastrophic to the poor and lower middle class. The result is that we are keeping more underpriveledged people out of educated society. They will wind up in prisons, or on welfare rolls, we're preventing the social elevation of the people who need it most.

2/06/2003

2-06-03 - 1

2-06-03

It's been a while since I last wrote here. When I read other peoples' blogs, I often wonder "what motivates them to pour themselves out to the anonymous internet?". But, then I do it myself. For most people, I think it probably traces back to the need to show the world you're cool. eg. let me write things that are interesting, let me put my personality out there on the web, then people will drop me emails remarking on my web site, and I will feel good about myself. There's this strange behavioral paradox that you can only live well by not dwelling on others' opinion of you, and yet so much of what we do can only be explained by the need to be liked.

I've been having trouble with the social world of the mid-20's life. I crave contact with more interesting people out of the Games and Tech industry, but I don't really know how to get it. In college there were all kinds of different people all around all the time, so it was easy. Now, I hardly see anyone outside of work, much less real connected moments with stimulating people. Much worse is that I don't always feel this way. I get tired and frustrated and such very easily. When I'm out, I just want to be home; when I'm home, I want to be out.

Being satisfied is the worst curse in life. Hunger is the blessing of youth.

Thinking more about why we blog - one reason for me has always been that I hate to repeat myself. I can write a thought once in the blog, and I feel like I've told it to lots of people. In the real world, if I want to share it with my "audience", I have to tell the same damn thing to countless people (so tedious!). Another reason we blog is to say things that we have trouble saying in person. Me, I love to drop strange pearls of wisdom on anyone I meet, but I don't just do it right off the bat (maybe I should), but only after sitting and smoking and drinking and listening to music in the dark; those moments of intense conversation about real personal things I rarely have these days, so instead I have them with my cold buzzing beige computer.

old rants