Monday, 29 December 2008

coke social

It’s entertaining sometimes to skim over the shipwrecks of social networking sites—Web 2.0, and find abandoned or severely neglected homepages, blogs and photography collections. I’d like to think most of these things, like my inactive mySpace presence, littered with unread posts, die these quiet deaths because they’ve served their purpose or have been made obsolete. I hope people give up because they’ve found their perfect match and aren’t much interested in braving the wilds of the Internet dating-scene anymore. Those posts and comments do keep coming in periodically, unread but loyally broadcast for holidays and birthdays by a small tribe of true-believers (those hold-outs for landing the dream job or landing the right person by the merits of their profiles), which seems like sad, vindictive graffiti peppered on some forgotten monument to a forgotten cause or decorating a dozing relative with Christmas garland.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Linus & Lucy

Though I missed seeing any of the usual Christmas specials this year, my mother showed H and I a mash-up clip of the excellent Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. I love that little show--the Peanuts are like psychoanalysis in classic comic format, and whenever I hear Linus explaining the meanining of Christmas--I think that's the only incident one can still find that makes mention of Jesus--it just kills me. I think I can dredge for all those special memories on the Internet, though. Instantly, after seeing this and thinking about the original, a non-sequitur memory swept over me, which at the time I didn't deem appropriate to share. For starters, it was my secret deciding factor to attend the university that I did. I might have gone to Harvard, if I really applied myself during my senior year, or to a good school in state, through I shudder to imagine how that would have screwed with H's and my space-time continuum. When I visited as a prospective student, there was a big party in the dorms (as per usual) and as I took in the view from the head of the hallway, the guys and girls were dancing just like on Charlie Brown, breezy and doing their own things, not caring how they looked.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

miscellany

Long before Wikipedia, textbooks, almanacs, wherein the most miniscule trivia can be tracked down in a more or less systematic manner, ancient Chinese scholars essayed the whole of scientific knowledge, arranging articles in a sort of science-dictionary format. Entries were set by order of importance, which seems rather subjective to my modern ears, but I suppose an alchemist would find a logical order to things, know to look up the Sun before Moon and Wind before Fire. It's sort of like reporting the news--in the order of importance with sports, weather, and celebrity gossip tacked on the end. Wikipedia is sometimes criticized for being a catch-all, having no sieve and mirroring fan-sights--that there is a longer entry for the Klingon language or Rankin & Bass Christmas specials than for Samuel Pepys. Personally, I like that about Wikipedia, since I feel above wading through fan-sites and nerdy anthologies to find such things and am pleased when I can come across such things at random and within the same gallery as serious, academic matters. It might be more didactic to wade through the whole compendium of human knowledge to get at the minutia, but the ability to become a subject matter expert on The Golden Girls or Kim Fields, and bypassing physics, rhetoric, geomancy and the Illiad, is certainly a remarkable thing, as well. Incidentally, the number one entry in the Chinese science-dictionaries was for the Dragon.

Friday, 19 December 2008

prodigal

I just returned from a quick and unplanned trip to the States, to attend my grandmother's funeral. I would have much like to have visited her a week prior, rather than waiting after all these years to see her in her grave. It was a sad occasion, but a condoling excuse for a family reunion, seeing aunts, uncles, cousins and associates that I had not seen in years--my own sister included. It was strange coming home, slightly unrecognizible and peering at things from a porthole of the Wayback machine. I was told my grandmother was very proud of me, and she certainly talked about me, which lent this odd weight of self-consciousness to meeting distant, long-lost relatives. Fancy. Here was the famous European cousin, returned, and a writer, too--she had said. I wouldn't want to let her down. Granny was fancy too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Amnesiac

Whenever I'm confined, grounded at home sick, like I am today, I'm reminded how pathetic and puny it's possible to feel. I've noticed I have no memory for pain, that the slightest winding-down that comes with a regular, unremarkable cold can cause the most expanded fears and debilitating discomforts, just like the occasional lapses I have concerning lack of sleep and skipping meals that makes me wonder too. I always feel a little bit guilty over truancy and for not being optimal. Rather, I suppose I'd like to be present and accounted-for but grumpy and sub-prime. There's always a bit of time for refletion during the day, something that I forget about as well whenever I make the decision to remain at home, whenever I don't feel proded to push the necessary thing to the end of the day, after work, or dredge them up for first thing in the morning. There's time to re-visit head-colds past and the inactivity that goes on in my little village when everyone has stolen away to work. The same is applies when it comes to recovery, and I have a hard time gauging how good I ought to feel--whether it's a lingering illness or the evanessence of a passing hang-over. I except to feel better than I did before I got sick.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Schmuck

A popular Christmas decoration motif in Germany seems to be of the rag-doll Saint Nikolaus scaling a ladder, dangling from the eaves of a building. I don't like this particular ornament so much because of its patent theological falseness: Santa does not need to break into one's home with a rope ladder, like a common criminal, since he has that magical sleigh and eight flying reindeer. And although, Saint Nikolaus visits, ostensibly with stocking-stufffers and minor gifts, a bit early here--though I think the major archana of celebrations and big presents are reserved for the three days of Christmas--Germany doesn't differ much from the true tradition. Not like France, for instance, whose children are filled with the heresy that Christmas chocolates are flown in by the bells of St. Peter's, hence the phrase, "And the bells have flown to Rome."

Thursday, 4 December 2008

sentiment

I have noticed since modernizing their logo, AT&T smacks of the Death Star in Star Wars. I wonder if when big corporate entities become the embodiments of evil, faceless and with an uncomfortable reach, that that is when something unreal called market-sentiment can really take rule. Big businesses have done a bang-up job of arousing suspicion and distrust, and naturally that's why governments see fit for this orgy of money-tossing. Though everyone is jagged for their slice of bailout-pie, it's these etheral corporations, who deal in invisible forces like banks, quasi-financial institutions like credit card companies, and any of the other concerns that bought into easy credit that are queued up for their share. Maybe it's because of this unreal, intangible aspect that such corporations are more prone to market hysteria. And though that has never before been charge for protectionism, except during times of overblown nationism and prejudice, the bundle of ventures that is the United States of America need to be safe-guarded from the whims of mood and sentiment first and foremost. Though auto-manufacturers and the like may have been sullied in the whole ordeal, what's called fundamental--that is, making things, should not be facing such a peril.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Snow Day

The weather has been drizzly and miserable (umbrellas, fo'drizzle--I saw that on a t-shirt once) and we've had some snow, but it's that shitty kind of snow, the sort that Jewish kids would get for Christmas, the spotty, sloppy and wet snow that makes for stress in traffic with the commuters reacting as if it's first time it has snowed north of the Alps. And maybe that it singles a time to call in favours, like a snowball's chance in Hell... I want blustering, orchestral snow-storms, the sort that bring about an amber or a red level to the road-conditions. The Army are wimps, sot of, in that regard, closing down operations for a blizzard that I am sure any German who is beyond his seasonal-driving amnesia would shrug off, but at least it's color-coded, like Threatcom and the Terror-Threat. We'd all have a jolly old snow day, like the kind that they used to grant for schools. As I recall, though, I always managed to get myself in trouble on snow days.

Monday, 1 December 2008

In Former East Germany, the Government works for You

After a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my parents at the military dining facility (mess hall) and driving to H's hometown in the East, H made the glib comment that we could now visit all of our parents every weekend. Quite... We had a great time throughout, and though it was not my first trip, H wanted to know my impressions of the place--what thoughts would he have on seeing the Indian reservation where I was born. "Oh--that was my teepee," maybe accounting for why I had moved a grand 33 times--to follow the buffalo and not because my parents were on the lam for a coupon-counterfeiting scheme or some such thing. I'm bedazzled by everything, frankly. Here was the shell of a cathedral being rebuilt after it was dismantled, piecemeal, in 1968 and here an ersatz ruin erected in the 19th century by a masonic grand-master.