Category: ignorance

At least I have health insurance

July 17th, 2008 — 3:52pm

So we’re passing LACMA on a pre-work stroll, and the subject comes around to new music. I’ve essentially thrown away all my CDs, except for the few with sentimental value (remember, I did coke off that one six years ago… aww….) I’ve been buying so much online music lately because I need something to occupy my mind when working on projects that don’t challenge me. “It’s SO difficult to force yourself to do boring work…” But then I realize as I say this out loud that we are walking past some latino gardeners who have probably been here since 7am and are bent over, pulling out composted leaves and random crap from around the area between the museum and the Tar Pits. They look tired, overworked, and dirty. Yes, it’s SO difficult to force oneself to do boring work. HOW do those poor gardeners manage?! Ugh… I feel like a bad New Yorker cartoon…

Comment » | ignorance, Whining

brief respite

June 9th, 2008 — 2:57pm

We live in cities where most of the housing has long been built and into which is shipped all our food. We have no genuine connection to the concept of a farm, and come to think of lettuce as something that is shrink-wrapped down the street rather than toiled over by migrant laborers. Most of us make our living without actually producing anything, or at best tangentially optimizing the production of others. Those of us who do produce things, like advertisements, web pages, or TV commercials can come to feel that the things we produce are only adding to the barrage of annoying distractions that leave us mentally exhausted by the end of the day. So even though it requires a complex society to allow for a large segment of the population to engage in activities like these, it FEELS as if we might as well be given the same paycheck NOT to work. It would only make my day to day life better not to see another annoying ad for a product I don’t need and which would only make life better for millions of people if it didn’t exist. Capitalism secretly hates free time, even though free time is necessary for it to sell the lifestyle products it thrives upon. In an ideal development of the capitalist mindset we would all be working seven days a week to support virtual reality copies of ourselves, and all the jetskis and SUVs would be built and dismantled but never used, over and over again, in giant circular manufacturing plants governed by robots.

Comment » | anxiety, ignorance, Whining

Entropy Visualized

May 30th, 2008 — 5:28am

A problem with a lot of modern science is the difficulty of visualizing these things in any manner that doesn’t feel intuitively wrong, like you’re watching an episode of the twilight zone that has been cut up so much to make room for more commercials that it no longer makes any sense. An electron imagined as a wave form of quantum probability that collapses into a definite state only upon observation is really cool, but I don’t know what that LOOKS like…

Interesting article: the arrow of time, which poses a possible answer to the question of why time seemingly moves solely in one direction.

Also interesting is the visual that the article conjures up of a possible model of existence that seems to work intuitively with a human mental model of the world.don't shoot

So picture a rippling plane, like a flag in absolute space, and in its least energetic state the flag is still, which is the state of greatest entropy, which would be equivalent to the point in our far future at which all matter and energy have spread into an even, near-homogeneous void. But then picture the thing in a gentle wind. Fluctuations in either direction of the ideal plane ripple it in the direction of decreasing entropy, each temporal/anti-entropic wave of which falls back eventually toward its natural state. Time is the experience of moving from one of those low entropy ripples toward the high entropy natural state.

So that if our universe is visualized as existing on one of those ripples, another universe might be on a ripple moving in the opposite direction, so that were it ever possible to map an experience in one to that of the other it would seem from each vantage point as if time in the other universe were moving backward. Each observer however would experience his or her movement as being progressive.

The initial image in my head was that of our expanding universe as one of those ripples moving outward, because of the metaphor of the big bang as an outward explosion. But our state is such that we are moving from lesser to greater entropy, in other words, in this image of a rippling flag carried by some Canadian terrified of being mistaken for an American while on vacation, the big bang would be the farthest outer edge of one of those ripples and our universe would be in the process of returning with it to the central state of maximum entropy, which is the flag at rest. All of which would mean that time as it is experienced is a returning of existence toward maximum entropy, regardless of which direction time is moving. Therefore there is no one direction of time, but there is also not somewhere a race of beings who are living “backwards.”

Comment » | entropy, ignorance

Manilla LA

May 29th, 2008 — 12:40pm
protofascist roboticistThere was an insight now lost to modern business that even someone as innately heartless as the crypto-fascist Henry Ford well understood. Today there is a strange disconnect between the concept of the marketplace and the entities that create the marketplace. The business model seems to be: create a company, find a niche, and then optimize the fuck out of everyone within the company in order to maximize profit. You should pay as little as possible, outsource globally to obtain the best exchange rate for human effort, burn through your workers because it is cheaper to hire new ones after a year or two than to allow proprietary knowledge to make them more productive (and therefore more expensive) and expand at a constant or accelerating rate of growth (the methodology of the cancer cell).
Unfortunately, if your workforce is less fulfilled, more miserable, overworked and without the freetime or extra income to enjoy many of the products you are creating, the economy will wallow in its own excrement and quality of life will decline. The polarization of employees and managment is further indication of the problem, and is only leading us toward a life like that lived in the Philippines. I like the weather there, but the place has been fucked by modern capitalism like the crackho of southeast asia.

Comment » | ignorance, Whining

the gold chain

May 20th, 2008 — 4:45pm
Years ago when we were killing people in Vietnam to staunch the spread of Communism, my father bought a 24carot gold chain that he now wants to give to E, because just like my cat he’s dying of cancer —he wants to make sure people in the family know how important they are to him. He wants her to have this gold chain. The price of gold has skyrocketed since he bought it, so the thing is worth money, and it has sentimental value due to its connection to the unnecessary war in Vietnam, and so he mails the chain to her in a registered package which I’m not here to receive. He doesn’t know she now lives across town, as this would only lead to an extended pre-death freakout on his part. So the next afternoon when the postal service employee arrives, we engage in a friendly brief conversation and she takes the signed slip requesting delivery, promising to drop off the package the following afternoon. Three days pass, E is too freaked out by her new job to make it to the post office, and so I head over there and they have no idea what I’m talking about. No package, sorry…  

Naturally, my first thought is ‘the bitch stole the gold chain!’ My next thought is the realization that I am a white, middle-class male accusing a slightly lower-middle-class black female of stealing jewelry from me. Which is incredibly tacky and possibly racist depending on how I would have reacted had it been a white, old lady instead. However, on the other hand, we’ve never had a single piece of mail stolen since we’ve lived here and many packages have been left at the doorstep and retrieved safely. Just never 24carot gold chains. This is further complicated by the knowledge that E thinks gold is unattractive and would never wear it, yet neither would we sell it, since it’s a memento of that period of my father’s life when he was busy dropping bombs on a bunch of innocent southeast asian farmers. She is annoyed that I handed over a signed slip to the postal employee; I’m annoyed that she couldn’t have bothered to go pick it up herself. The cat is meanwhile hacking in the corner reminding everyone quietly that he, too, is dying.

Then I remember the tone of my conversation with the postal lady; that was not the voice of someone who would be interested in stealing stray packages. She was cool; also kind of hot. It didn’t make sense, and I didn’t believe that she took the package; it also didn’t make sense that anyone else had taken it, because the likelihood that the one package stolen from us in 4 years would be the single most important one is statistically less than a quarter of a percentage point. The only other option was that it hadn’t been delivered. So I called this morning and after some grumbling the man at the other end went searching once again through their stacks and found the certified LETTER, not package, that my dying father sent over.

Fundamental Law of Trouble Attribution: Laziness or Inneptitude Are Always More Likely Causes of Your Ills Than Evil.

ADDENDUM:  So of course when I drive over there at lunch the woman behind the counter can’t find any package for me. She had the scary sallow look I remember from the days back in college when I used to sell blood. But then I remembered that there was another post office further down Washington Boulevard, so I drive down there and wait in line only to have the lady behind the counter tell me, “Son, you belong at a different post office.” She directed me back to the one where I began my search. So I gave up and went home and then realized that I had forgotten to mail my application to the OUTFEST art show, despite the fact that I’m heterosexual, and since I still had half an hour left I walked to my THIRD post office of the day, the closest post office to my house despite it’s not being my official post office, and I mailed the envelope.

On my walk back, I saw the postal employee and corroborated with myself that she was hot. “Wait!” she said, “I have a package for you in the truck.” 

Comment » | ignorance

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