August 18th, 2003



I've always had a problem with the consumerist commercial nature of the American culture. I flog myself for participating as much as I do. I reconcile my participation with my conserving ways. I may purchase things, but I hold on to them for as long as is practical. I purchased my stereo used from a Syrian grad student in 1988. The CD player was added in 1990 (and I still have the first CD I purchased, Was (not Was) What up, Dog?). I purchased a used car in 1995 and kept it until 2002 when I gave it to someone else in a grand attempt at recycling. Etc. etc. etc.

Then the commercial world intrudes. Everything is a commercial these days. Buy. Consume. It isn't a subliminal as the message in They Live (one of my all time favorite movies, by the way… sure it's Roddy Piper, but it adds just the right cheese factor). One doesn't need special glasses to see it all though.

Some day, I'm going to go berserk and spray paint black every bit of the pervasive advertising I see. How I wish I could be as charismatic as Tyler Durden leading an overthrow of the bourgeois lifestyle I and so many people I know live. But I'm not so disaffected nor so nihilistic. Still a little bit of that mentality infects me.

The first place I'm going to start is the ads on DVDs. Yes, this is what started my little soliloquy. I began watching Red Dragon and had an ad for Hulk thrown in my face. Unlike VHS, DVDs have the ability to let the viewer pick and choose the pieces they want to watch. Many DVDs include trailers for upcoming features on their menus. But this studio has decided that viewers cannot be entrusted with the choice; we must watch the trailer as a preview to the Play Movie option.

Luckily, the skip to next chapter button wasn't disabled for this section.


Can't sleep

the clowns will get me.

Well, not really. Clowns aren't my problem. As a child, my bedroom was in the basement. The deck was over my window, and just beyond the deck was a plum tree. The bicycle rack was on the patio just outside my window. I frequently freaked out over the moving shadows from the branches of that plum tree. They cast dark movements on the back wall of my bedroom, where I could only imagine the worst. I was always looking for a tell-tale human shadow to appear, and dreaded any noises coming from the bikes as a harbinger of certain death. For a time, my bed was directly underneath the window, where I faced the back wall. Should someone be sneaky, they could crawl up to the window without a shadow, then burst in upon me. It's no wonder I read late into the night, afraid to close my eyes.

Tonight, my problem is fear of another sort. I have a lot on my mind, and I fear some of my future will be decided tomorrow (actually, later today). Perhaps I read too much into vague omens. I wonder how the Greeks of Delphi though? Having convinced themselves that the mumblings and incoherent rantings of a madwoman was indeed the voice of the future, how did they handle knowing the hand of the gods was about to strike, yet not knowing what form it would take. (Forgive me for any liberties I take with the actual history of the Oracle. This was merely the first example of a vague prophetic source I could think of.)

So what does my prophecy mean? I know not. Or rather, I suspect much, and know little. And what I do know I have decided not to tell this audience. Not for the moment at least.

It's rare that I lay awake at night, unable to sleep. I am strangely unafraid. Perhaps I shall make headway on the 18 inch stack of magazines on my bookshelf. If lucky, I shall finally drift off to sleep in time for my alarm at 6:47 a.m.

MV Kalakala

The Kalakala used to ply the waters of Puget Sound as part of Washington's ferry fleet. It's a cool looking ship. When it was decommissioned, it went up to Alaska, where it essentially sat doing nothing. I believe it even was moved onto land for a while. Some enterprising preservationists got it back to Seattle a few years ago, with the idea of restoring it and turning it into a floating museum. That was the last I heard of it. They were raising money to make it into a museum, but didn't have enough yet.

Apparently they have had a horrible time of it. Maybe it made the news, maybe not, but that foundation is now bankrupt and the Kalakala is being auctioned off. Which is too damn bad. Wish I had the knowledge and time to do something about the boat. I see it frequently, docked on Lake Union near the I-5 bridge. It looks bad, but not too bad. Though that's not necessarily a reflection of its underlying condition.