Monday, January 07, 2008

Nuggets: let's be great in 2008!

  • Power out here. A tow-truck driver in Canada once told me of how he lived "off the grid" for a year, starting on the highly symbolic 20th of April. (4.20!) He kept his beer cold by snaking an extension cord into his neighbor's electrical socket, and similarly powered his computer and desklamp. "It's actually really easy to go without hydro [in English: electricity]; I don't know why more people don't do it."
  • Dead branches on the tree of possibilities: Paleo-Future.
  • Lacking power (GIANT STORM! DID YOU HEAR?), and needing to finish an epidemiology paper by tonight, I have spent the past few days in Bay Area cafes with my laptop. Hmm. There do seem to be a number of people on their laptops who are "young, male, decently attractive and successful in a way that doesn't seem correlated to any kind of virtue" on their laptops. Notice the careful phrasing that stakes out a neutral position on the question of my membership in the group; I report, you decide. There are secret signs. There is a highly structured social order, saturated with ritual, that has almost surely been described on This American Life. Most surprisingly: cafes here give out free beef jerky to anyone toting a laptop.
  • I've overheard un-gilded gems like, "Oh, he's your typical Sufi mystic..." [knowing chuckles].
  • And a Lycra-clad man attempting to start a conversation with some Germans, using a tone more appropriate for 2-year-old retarded children: "I work with your leaders. The leaders of your country. They do not think about the future. They are very slow in adopting the e-lec-tric caaaarrrr." Here he turns an imaginary steering wheel, thereby creating a word-picture. One German says, "We are not fresh off the boat. We have lived here for 40 years." They subsequently ignore him.
  • Also: "I want Obama, like, so bad." Memo to Barack: the voters of the SF Bay Area are spreading their electoral legs for you.
  • Gawker has linked to Corn Chips & Pie. I now face a challenge previously confronted by countless bloggers before me: getting one's girlfriend to give a shit.