June 27, 2009, 9:49 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
This morning I had the most vivid and immersive dream of my life (It even had sub-plots).
My sister, Carin, and I were at a family reunion sort of thing that was taking place in a huge community center sort of place which had all sorts of amusements and large (grassy) open areas while still being indoors. All the extended family was there. At one point Carin, having been there before and knowing all the cool stuff about the building, suggested that we take this elevator to a different level of the facility. We hit the call button, waited, and got on. I expected the elevator to go straight up, what with having ridden in an elevator before, but after going up for a few seconds it started spiraling. The elevator was fully enclosed (no windowed wall) but we could feel the acceleration of it spinning and gyrating, after what seemed like a long time on the elevator—which had only two buttons on the inside, one for the first floor and one for the sixth—I realized that we hadn’t hit a the button for our desired floor which I assumed would have been six. I moved over to the buttons and started to press the only button other than the one representing the floor we had just left, but Carin moved in to stop me, saying that if we press it to early they won’t let us up there. We stood by the buttons for a while and all at once I knew the timing was right, she confirmed my hypothesis by shouting “NOW” as I pushed the button.
At the onset of the dream I was wearing what I thought was my grey suit with all the regular accoutrements (I spelled that right on the first try), as we were getting on the elevator I noticed that the cuff on my left suit sleeve was all fucked up and set out to try to fix it. After futzing with the cuff for what seemed like minutes I realized that this suit didn’t used to have cuffs at the arms and was suddenly quite confused, I looked at the other arm and realized that it had a cuff and was put at ease. Observing the other cuff allowed me to fold the left cuff the way it was supposed to be, but for some reason re-folding it caused the sleeve to cinch up and it became very tight around my wrist. This was when I realized the elevator button had not been pushed.
As the elevator dinged and screeched to a stop Carin told me that we would have to run or else they would kick us out. When the doors opened we sprung into action and ran like hell, I was following Carin because I had no idea where we were or where we were going. I did hear shouts of people saying “You’re not supposed to be here,” who quickly followed in chase. We were running very fast, like five times faster then I could possibly run in real life, but the girl who was chasing us was moving about two times faster than us. The girl that caught us was wearing a cocktail dress and three inch heels, I was embarrassed to be caught by a girl in heels, but incredibly impressed that she could run so quickly in those shoes. Two other scantily-clad girls moved in to surround us. They scolded us saying “Only famous scientists and literates are allowed up here, do you fit that category?” As I looked around I realized that there were a bunch of professor-looking types with suede sleeved jackets milling around talking about non-sense. We protested as they lead us toward the exit, which was the trippiest staircase I had ever seen.
This staircase was our punishment in a way, it was like a spaghetti bowl maze of spiraling staircases different noodles that split off, combined, dead-ended, submerged in water, and did all sorts of crazy things. The stairs were also not limited to going just downward, they would swoop up and down at different areas, it truly was a three dimensional maze (also, I someday have to build one of these). We began descending the stairs and after a while of trying to find our way we got separated on two different stairwells, but both had the same idea to escape back up to the sixth floor, we started jumping rails onto different stairwells that we had observed might lead us back up there. The three girls, who had been watching us descend, quickly caught on to our plan and began to chase us again. During the chase I was dead-ended by a watery stairwell and had to jump from handrail to handrail to get to a different set of stairs, but I slipped. Thankfully I caught myself, but my shoes had gotten water-logged. The chase continued. I approached another watery part but this time realized that if I crab-walked on the handrails that I could make it without getting too wet, so I did, but alas I slipped again and my whole backside got wet. I made it through, but the girls with their superior speed and knowledge of the layout caught us both and forced us back up the stairs to the sixth level. They didn’t say where they were taking us, but it seemed sinister. Two of the pretty guard girls had somewhere to be, but they said they would catch up to us and help with the escort, thus leaving us alone with only one of the guards. We all walked to our common unknown destination, and along the way we got to talking.
During the walk I looked down to assess the damage to my clothing, nothing serious. I did notice that my suit was not the grey suit I thought it was, but instead a bluish-grey thing with light green trim, it was a bad-ass leisure-suit from the ’70s.
After a while of walking we bonded with our captor and she eventually passed us a flask after she took a swig. She wasn’t carrying a purse, and I was confused about where she had pulled that flask from, but thought it best not to ask. When I looked at the surroundings for potential escape routes I realized that we had entered a sort of suburban neighborhood with quaint little fenced-in houses (still indoors mind you). Carin and I had the same idea and escaped to one of the fenced-in areas, and the guard followed us, but wasn’t chasing us… she had joined our band and was going to help us evade the other guards who were surely fast approaching. They were, and they caught us quickly, but not before I could wake up and realize that it was all an incredibly bizarre dream.
obama and the gays
June 24, 2009, 1:15 a.m. by Lew
i am a bit bothered by obama's reluctance to take up equal rights for homosexuals. he recently asked the supreme court to not take up a case challenging "don't ask don't tell." he has not been an activist on gay rights in these first months of his administation. he made some effort by expanding rights to gay federal workers within the limits of current legislation. i am guessing/hoping he is biding his time and not avoiding gay issues. i am thinking that he knows how contentious gay rights legislation is going to be and he isn't going to risk other important issues like health care by taking up gay rights now. i don't like it but i think that is what he is doing and he is probably right. he is smart and i still trust him, but he is losing the faith of his glbt supporters.
June 19, 2009, 9:31 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
There is an epidemic, nay a pandemic, spreading like wildfire across the globe, I speak of twitter: the blue menace.
“But Paul, why do you hate Twitter so much? You, yourself, keep a blog (as is evidenced by this bullshit post), how could you be so vehemently opposed to the notion of rapid-fire short and essentially meaningless online communication?”
Well, gentle reader, I’m glad you ask. The reason Twitter’s proliferation offends me so is because it perpetuates and even necessitates the bastardization of our language. Or to put it differently: “bcuz it kills r words”. With their 140 character limit they make it impossible to formulate and convey a coherent thought, to even try requires a loose understanding of phonics. There are those who claim that spelling, grammar, and usage are unimportant so long as the reader understands the central meaning of the text. If that were the case then why did we, as a species, progress past grunting and pointing at our genitals? (I suppose not all of us have, looking at you Long Island) Could it be because simple communication lacks the nuance that allows us to express complex or abstract ideas?
It was perfectly acceptable when this mode of communication was primarily employed by teenybopper girls and potheads who think they are blowing their readers’ minds, but when legitimate news outlets (the legitimacy of CNN is sadly dwindling at the speed of light) are using Twitter as a means of news gathering then it has gone too far, it is too mainstream. It must be stopped before irreparable damage is done to our common language.
June 13, 2009, 11:58 p.m. by Lew
this post is about bullshit. i may have written about this before. i [try] to prefer honesty and sincerity in place of b.s.. i have three particular examples that are really bugging me. gun lovers who try to make the issue about constitutional rights and potheads who make the issue about fibers. if you love guns or pot it is fine enjoy your guns and weed. don't talk about the right to bare arms if you aren't going to shout from the roof every time there is a slight against the constitution. and if you love paper and rope so much there are probably fibers even better than hemp. just be honest. say you love guns and weed or whatever. don't b.s. me.
A[nother] Challenger Approaches
June 11, 2009, 8:16 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
A little less than a year ago I [commented on Cuil](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=176), a search engine that was trying to compete with Google for a slice of that money cake that Google has been nomming on for quite some time. Now Microsoft is throwing their hat in the ring too… again (there has always been an MSN search engine which sucks). They recently unveiled a new service called Bing, which I predict—like Cuil—will not be able to squeeze out a toe-hold on the search market. Alas, Microsoft is sidestepping the primary error that Cuil made, they are advertising the shit out of Bing, and they are doing so in markets that appeal to the internet savvy—or at least internet aware—crowd. This past week they had a live Hulu broadcast of “Bing-a-thon”, which starred a hostess from G4 (Olivia Munn). I didn’t watch it because I fucking hate Microsoft (and I forgot when it was on), but the adverts made it out to be a hilarious and raucous event. I’m sure it was nothing more than a drawn out advertisement, but if Microsoft is willing to pay for me to watch [Arrested Development](http://www.hulu.com/arrested-development) and [Stargate SG-1](http://www.hulu.com/stargate-sg-1) by buying up ad space on Hulu then I’m not going to stop them.
Now, what does Bing have going for it? Well they make themselves out to be more than a search engine, instead it is a “Decision Engine”. I’m not entirely sure what that is supposed mean, but there is probably some functionality that facilitates decision making, how useful it is/will be is yet to be seen. Bing also features a fancy looking front page which juxtaposes the minimalist Google front page quite nicely. I really can’t help but notice how similar Cuil and Bing are in their logotype (see below), both names are short, set in sans-serif, and both feature a color changed ‘I’ glyph (or at least a color changed part), and finally they (like this site) are set entirely in lower-case. I wonder if their choices are somehow related.
June 2, 2009, 9:30 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
When I heard the news yesterday that General Motors had declared bankruptcy I was not terribly surprised, but when I heard that they were going to see $30 billion more in taxpayer money I was a bit disturbed. GM has never made any apologies about screwing the American people, from their plant closings preceding the collapse of several steel-belt towns so GM could find greener (cheaper) pastures, to their general disregard for consumers in continuing to produce outdated designs and hiding behind the “Buy American” banner. As far as I’m concerned the American public owes them nothing: disloyalty deserves disloyalty.
During this economic downturn we the people have given them $47 billion without even a whiff of a promise of them creating any new jobs (or rather, restoring any of the jobs they have outsourced). Instead they will take that money (amounting to 60% of their market value), restructure by selling off brands, close a slew of plants, and try to recapture some of their previous “America, fuck yeah” market share with increasingly foreign made cars.
At the risk of sounding like a “What America needs” liberal, what Americans needs right now are companies that improve the buying power of the average American consumer while offering products and services that consumers want. The only way to improve the buying power of folks is to reduce unemployment by ensuring a steady stream of new jobs that a layman is capable of performing. I’m sure many GM apologists will blame unions for causing the downfall of the American auto industry, but there is plenty of blame to go around; union greed is a factor, but it is not the straw that broke the camel’s back. Look at Toyota, they have several plants in the United States, and they have to deal with the same organized labor laws that GM has to deal with. Blaming unions for this failure is simply unacceptable.
As with most problems with the industrial economy the failures are due to inertia, companies that fail to innovate are doomed to failure, and GM is the worst of the bunch. I, for one, say let them burn. Let a strong and innovative company step up and take their place (FWI: I’m not talking about Ford, they—like GM—have failed to produce any significant innovations in auto technology since the single cast V-8).