Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the health care blarg

"Republicans charged that both plans would lead to a government 'takeover' of the health-care system and ultimately force private insurers out of business."—Washington Post

The implication that the public option is insidious and will put good and honorable privately-run health care companies out of business needs to be beaten back with a giant stick with a nail in it. Regardless of whether a public option would or wouldn't put private insurers out of business—since when have private insurers been worth saving? What has a free market brought us in terms of health-care? Run-away costs, awful service, and—yes!—rationing. The wealthy can afford it and afford more of it, those who are monetarily challenged cannot. (One could maybe argue it brought us accelerated technological advancement, but I don't know enough about that either way.)

The thing that really pisses me off is that these jackasses in Congress arguing against government-run health-care all gladly accept their gov't plan.

Does anyone feel strongly one way or the other about this stuff? Government option? National private non-profit? Regional non-profit? Leave the system as is? Choices D through Z?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

grow and change

canned some tomatoes with amie yesterday. maybe there'll be some photo documentation on her site in the not too distant future (hint, hint). brunch this morning featured a fairly incredible 3-layered peach and nectarine pavlova with sour whipped cream courtesy of zoe, a friend/co-worker of laurel and amie.

also watched synecdoche, new york and cold souls this weekend. i do not generally recommend the former unless you're into semi-incoherent david-lynch-type films. it's ambitious in terms of its thematic scope, but it really lost me in the middle when it veered away from linear narrative. i'm sure there was some meaning in it, but i could not figure out what it was exactly. it re-congealed toward the end, when the main character's grandiose macarthur-genius-award-funded theatrical work takes on a life of its own. the actor he hires to play himself begins a romance with his assistant, while the main character has a run-in with the woman playing the assistant. it becomes mind-bending in the fun way that kaufman's other stuff (eternal sunshine, adaptation, being john malkovich) is. the result of the love, loss, jealousy, and existential crises is ultimately depressing, emotionally draining, and confusing.

cold souls was easier to wrap my head around. alternately darkly humorous and completely ridiculous, it's paul giamatti at his best and probably most likable role (dude plays a lotta losers and curmudgeons). there's less to it than synecdoche, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. focusing more squarely on the question of identity and existence, it still tackles love, loss, and jealousy, but by using one frame of reference it creates a more coherent story. and you get to see paul giamatti do a pretty good impression of a bad william shatner performance in a chekhov play. the ending lacks much of a resolution though, which is pretty unsatisfying.

also: glee. watched the season opener. generally enjoyable. they seem to be blowing their sexual tension load a little early regarding the football player–nerdy singer. also, the lip synching is a little over the top and distracting. i'd rather the performances feel more live, less produced. the whole kanye west interlude was, frankly, awful—too cheesy even for a show that is steeped in a variety of dairy. the extent to which all of the characters are fairly gross stereotypes is somewhat bothersome. that said, it's only the first episode (well, second, if you include the pilot), and there's plenty of room to grow and change.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

the rocket summer

so i was listening to this radiolab episode today, which is all about parasites, and they had an parasite expert who started talking about this parasitic wasp. the wasp uses cockroaches as a host. it stings them to stun them and then stings them in a very specific spot in their head, which basically zombifies them. they become living servants for these wasps. (please note that this summary here is probably somewhat inaccurate and for the full story you really should listen to the original discussion in what is a very entertaining episode of radiolab) the wasp then takes the cockroach and grabs onto its antennae to use as a steering mechanism (it does this with its mouth... or pincers or whatever it has in its general oral region), leads it over to a nice dirt patch lays some eggs under it and buries it alive. the eggs then hatch and burrow into the cockroach where they feast on its innards, being careful not to eat anything integral to its survival until they reach maturity at which point they burst out of the cockroach, shake off the viscera and fly away. the cockroach then dies.

now this got me thinking in my standard cynical anti-establishment mode. it seems to me that there's a parallel between these parasitic wasps—which i think, regardless of how you feel about cockroaches, may be one of the most heinous creatures on the planet—and the capitalistic/materialistic society we presently find ourselves in. granted, capitalism doesn't exactly lobotomize us, but what it does do is insidious in a way that's almost more evil than a direct stinger to the brain is. we're all trapped in this process that slowly brainwashes us. we're inundated from birth with carefully designed advertisements targeted at our exact demographic, whatever that happens to be at the time, to consume product A or use service B. we become used to consuming these products and services, cannot imagine life without them, even though in almost all cases these products and services only came to be recently—recently at least relative to the breadth of human existence. we recommend service B to friends and family—it makes life easier and it costs so little! we become fixated on these goods and services. they are a focal point in our lives. we begin to see them as not just the accoutrements that they are, but as the become increasingly important until they become our raison d'ĂȘtre. not only do we find ourselves buying them, but we're making them, we're selling them, advertising their existence to the newly born so that they can grow up and be enveloped by the same things.

the scary thing about consumerism is not that we consume so much, rather it's how much it consumes us.

this blog post was posted to blogger, written in gmail on a mac book pro (with intel inside!), powered by pacific power, connected to the internet via comcast, while sitting on a bed puchased via, covered in sheets bought at fred meyer, and perched on a bedframe made from wood, screws, and nails, all summarily consumed from home depot. it will be posted on blogger in verdana, a typeface designed for microsoft. i'm sure there are dozens of other soulless, multinational corporations involved in this whole process—who made the sheets? the lightbulb lighting the room? mined the copper for the co-axial cable? we're all drowning in it.

/ / /

in other news, laurel's co-worker informed her that the space shuttle and ISS would be undocking and visible this evening. we watched for about 30 seconds, which was as long as we could see them, as the shuttle rocketed away from the space station at 18,000 mph. they were both remarkably bright objects for things that were relatively small and 220 miles away. it was cool. thanks NASA (also, thank you for my Memory foam mattress).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

ad nauseum.

time really flies the older you get. i what used to seem like a week is now a month. there's probably a lot to tell since the last entry, but i can't think of much. tera is outta the office on a permanent basis and is prepping for a strict regiment of higher education by enjoying the delights of le france with the martinator. with her gone, the office dynamic is very different. her replacement is high energy and has a ridiculous amount of design experience: 20 years, plus design schooling. i've also taken on some more responsibility and at least for the past week haven't really had a shortage of things to do, which is kind of nice. but i do enjoy reading the news and there's been a lot less of that.

last weekend tom and laurel led me on an expedition up South Sister, the third highest mountain in all of vasty vastness of Oregon. there's documentation of the expedition located here: it was a rewarding but a difficult, steep, and slippery, slide-y climb to the summit. it's probably the highest summit i've climbed to. even starting from halfway up, it was tough. i definitely noticed the air thinning out at about 8,000 feet. the last thousand feet or so i found myself resting every 20 feet or so. it wasn't so bad though, the exhaustion just gave me a good reason to stop and enjoy the view.