ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms

September 2005


Musings29 Sep 2005

The above appears in the preface of Starship Troopers, attributed to an “unknown platoon sergeant”.

A conversation with Jamie made me think about immortality.

As a species, we seem plenty hung up on something that no-one has ever actually attained. To borrow an old line “despite recent medical advances, death rate remains a constant 100%”.

Lots of philosophers from Plato on have theorized about an immortal soul. Plato’s dialog the Phaedo, which recounts the last hours of Socrates’ life, contains some of his most beautiful writing. In it, we find Socrates in jail, awaiting the time when he is to drink the hemlock. His friends have gathered, and he tries to cheer them up by arguing that the soul is immortal. His friend Simmias listens to Socrates’ arguments in silence for a while and thinks of an objection, but is afraid to offer it for fear of upsetting his friend in his final times. He finally admits his this to Socrates, who replies:

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Musings27 Sep 2005

Here we go again: the Intelligent Design court case opened in Pennsylvania yesterday.

Some coverage:
AiG – creationist site
CNN – mainstream news
National Center for Science Education

If you’re saying “I don’t live in Pennsylvania, or even the USA, how does this effect me?”, listen to this:

The companies that produce science textbooks want to sell them. In a lot of areas where the Intelligent Design/Evolution “controversy” exists, selling textbooks means toning down the evolutionary content. And making multiple versions of the same textbook, (with and without the quality evolutionary content) is an added expense. When a significant number of school districts start getting queasy about teaching Evolution, we (who buy English language science textbooks printed in the USA) all feel the effects.

For a discussion of how the textbook purchasing policies in Texas drove the publishing industry in the whole country in the 1980s, go here.

For fun:
Some stickers you can take to school with you.
Project Steve

News26 Sep 2005

As previously blogged, I was in Sackville over the weekend. First time I’d been back in about a year. I expected it to feel strange, but it didn’t.

Highlights:

Andrew’s play rocked. It was written by his girlfriend, who I also got to meet for the first time. It’s about a girl who loses her memory and tries to put her life back together with each of her family members and friends giving her different versions of her past to suit their own ends. For a student-written play it was really damn good. For a play in general, it was really damn good.

Went to Ducky’s. At one point, the RCMP showed up and said “okay, everyone, we need to see ID”. When my turn came I tried to give them my driver’s license and they waved me off. Does my beard really make me look that old? I was sitting next to Gaelan. They checked his ID. I’m only a year older than him…

Got Andrew’s second hard drive working for him. I was glad I was able to do it. I am apparently supposed to know how to do these things, but I am always amazed when I actually pull it off.

Hung out with Ewan for a while. He sang me a song about the IRA and said “bollocks” a lot. When he spotted me walking across campus he leaned out the window of his drawing class and yelled “Oi!”. I love that guy.

Went and saw the Arrogant Worms in Con Hall. It was fun, (I love the Last Saskatchewan pirate song), but I was glad I paid student price. They weren’t mind blowing or anything. Also, ran into Dr. Ricker at the show. She apparently went to grad school with the ‘worms.

It was a fun weekend, all told.

Movies26 Sep 2005

I really like movies. Especially the kind of decent non-blockbuster films that usually get made some place other than hollywood. The fact that I have lived in this town for a year and managed to avoid finding out about the N.B. Film Co-op’s monday night series is nothing short of negligence on my part. Oh well. No longer will I be deprived of my entertainment.

Tonight I saw My Summer of Love. For some reason, I failed to grasp that this movie was British until it actually started. I was completely shocked by the British accents. If you want a synopsis, go look at the Film Co-op site.

It wasn’t the best movie I have ever seen but it was decent. It had a very satisfying sense of doom throughout, and my stomach was actually slightly in knots at times. Afterwards I think I overheard some people complaining about the audience laughing at the antics of the main character’s born-again brother. To those people, I say: come on, watching him and 50 of his followers lug that cross up the side of the mountain was pretty funny.

The only downside of the whole experience is that none of my friends could apparently be arsed to come out for it (though Bernard promised to come next week). I like going to movies *with* people. I am not entirely sure why, as it’s not like watching a screen is a team activity in the same way as, say, baseball is a team activity. Oh well.

News23 Sep 2005

I’m headed off for the weekend, going to visit friends and see Andrew in play. Should be good times.

And now, for no reason other than that I feel like it (and perhaps because my recent use of the word “decadence” put me in mind of it), I will leave you with a quote about Nietzsche.

Nietzsche was a lover of life but a hater of most of us who live it because we did not — do not — live it properly, fully, with appropriate abandon, with delight and with mastery, the way a dancer may leap and spin and even look askance, exulting in her total control of eyelash and limb.

From William H. Gass’s essay “The Trouble with Nietzsche”, published in the August 2005 issue of Harper’s.

News22 Sep 2005

I bought no less than three pairs of pants today. That seems excessive, though I suppose the time had come given that a) my last good pair of jeans and lately acquired both paint and grease, and b) well, b requires some explanation. My favorite pair of non-jeans happen to be cargo pants which have the neat ability to zipper off the pant-legs and convert to shorts. I have been wearing them as shorts all summer. I lately discovered that the upper part has faded rather a lot, while the (detached) legs have stayed their original colour. Thus, I now have a pair of two-toned pants. They look a bit ridiculous. And I figure that if even I think they look ridiculous, it’s definitely time to think about some new duds.

Ack. Between these new pants and my new guitar amp, I am starting to feel like a consumer. Oh wait, maybe it’s just the flu. I think I had a touch of the flu this week, or at least, the “post-blues-festival-I-did-not-do-nearly-enough-sleeping” flu, if you know what I mean.

Musings20 Sep 2005

(aka: the tabloids at the grocery store checkout).

Today I learned that there is a new Scandinavian Weight-Loss Secret. I didn’t read to find out what the secret was, but I am guessing you change your name to Sven and watch the pounds melt away like so much water off a glacier feeling the heat of global warming.

“Diets don’t work for you? New research suggests that you might have TOO MUCH will power”. I was fairly curious about that one too.

Also, apparently Hillary Duff is a home-wrecker. This surprised me, as I didn’t think she was actually old enough to drive yet…

My favorite kind of marketing is the kind that plays on your insecurities and shortcomings. Today I saw a scratch and win lottery card featuring a young and shiny-looking family skipping happily down a wharf in the sun. In order to play the game you literally scratch away their grinning faces to reveal your inevitable failure. Unattainable standard? Meet reality.

I like going to the grocery store. The tabloids always give me a good chuckle, and I like the strange atmosphere of the superstore. Today there was ethereal jazz piano wafting down from the balcony. I also like the snippets of overheard conversation: “Water chestnuts! They have to be around here SOMEWHERE!”, and watching the cashier girls flirt with each-other.

In other news:

Dave to Katie: “So this must be a very exciting time for you. You’re in love with Tom Cruise, and Tom, as far as we can tell, has gone nuts.”
- David Letterman to Katie Holmes on the Late Show

tomcruiseisnuts.com

Movies and News20 Sep 2005

Jamie left. I will miss his prancing along behind me playing solos on his imaginary trumpet.

I went and saw The Constant Gardner tonight. It was very good. It’s based on a John Le CarrĂ© novel, which (without giving away the plot) should tip you off that it is about spies and such.

To give you a sense of what kind of movie this is:

In one of the first scenes, the main character (a british diplomat in Kenya) is watering some plants with a glass pitcher when his friend, a fellow british diplomat comes to deliver some bad news (“Old chap could you stop watering those plants a minute?”). I was waiting for the inevitable dropped and smashing pitcher scene, but our hero stayed quite composed and kept his grip.

The writing and acting were both good, and the cinematography was interesting. There are lots of stiff upper lip brits doing nasty things and then going to watch their kids play cricket. It’s set mostly in Africa and the scenery is spectacular. Go see it if you get a chance. Though I warn you: it is a little sad. Maybe bring along someone you wouldn’t mind consoling after it’s over (wish I’d thought of that). Actually, it probably isn’t that sad, but to bring along someone you wouldn’t mind consoling anyway, as such people are always the most fun to go to movies with.

I went with my mom.

*sigh*

Music and News and Photos18 Sep 2005

More Harvest Goodness.

Went to a Blues Guitar workshop with Colin Linden. This prompted me to want to put light strings on my acoustic guitar (been using mediums) so that I can finger pick more easily. With that in mind we went to the music store. While we were there I bought a new amplifier. Just like that. Going to guitar stores with Jamie is always a good time.

Ah, the infectious air of the harvest festival. Last year it prompted me to buy a guitar, so I guess this year I actually saved some money. Except, that rationalization doesn’t work because someone else paid for the guitar (thanks Aunt Marg!). Try this rationalization instead: it’s a tube amp (my old is solid-state) and it makes me sound like BB King.

We saw Redeye Mojo, who were decent, and Fruteland Jackson another time. He’s awesome. It was during his introduction to “Dust My Broom” that he uttered the line I borrowed for the title of this post.

New Amp Pics!

New amp
The new beast.

Epiphone Ad #1
It’s an Epiphone, like my guitar. Yay brand loyalty.

Epiphone ad #2
More home-made Epiphone promotional material.

Playing guitar.
I am playing very quietly because it is midnight.

Red vs Blue
Jamie’s guitar and amp. Mine is prettier.

He has manners, really.
He innocently said “Hey, we should try out that amp…”

News17 Sep 2005

We had lunch at the Jester’s Court, an English-style pub downtown. Jamie wanted me to tell you that our waitress looked just like Paris Hilton, right down to the hair and visage. For a guy who thinks Paris Hilton is the “least attractive woman on the internet”, he seemed awfully excited about this.

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