March 28, 2004

I’m Back!

Posted in General at 12:55 pm by Ian

See below for the ever-expanding real-time accounts of my trip as they happened!

Sort of.

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March 26, 2004

Austin: Part I: The Great Go-Back-U-Malator

Posted in General at 11:00 am by Ian

Through the magic of futzing with the date field, you, my loyal readers, will have the opportunity to read my thoughts as they occurred, only days ago, as though you had your own go-back-u-malator, built in the garage out of spare wire and fish bones.

March 25, 2004

Friends In High Places

Posted in General at 2:37 am by Ian

Hey, check out the guy in the ugly brown suit

Catch Y’all On The Flip Side

Posted in General at 2:32 am by Ian

I’m fixin’ to head down to Texas for the weekend, so there may or may not be anything written here for the next couple of days.

I promise to report on whether this was purely an intellectual pursuit.

March 24, 2004

So… It’s A Sunday?

Posted in General at 1:31 pm by Ian

Following Sarra’s Easter invitation, I set out to discover when Easter actually is. I discovered this web page, which removed any doubts I had in my mind that religions made sense with the following explanation (term used here very loosely):

The Date of Easter 2004
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar (which follows the motion of the Sun and the seasons). Instead, they are based on a lunar calendar like that used by the Jews. At the First Council of Nicaea in 325 it was decided that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday after the 14th day of the first lunar month of spring (in theory, the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox). Eventually, all churches accepted the Alexandrian method of computing Easter, which set the northern hemisphere vernal equinox at 21 March (the actual equinox may fall one or two days earlier or later), and the date of the full moon was to be determined by using the Metonic cycle. A problem here is the difference between the western churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The former now use the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter 2004, while the latter still use the original Julian calendar. The World Council of Churches proposed a reform of the method of determining the date of Easter at a summit in Aleppo, Syria, in 1997. This reform would have eliminated the difference in the date between the Eastern and Western churches. The reform was due to be implemented starting in 2001, but it failed.

Right!

Also on that page is the disturbing depiction of this tradition, with no explanation of origins or current practice:

Easter Monday 2004
On Easter Monday everyone gets up early; boys and men to set of on a whipping trip through the village, girls and women to prepare, hide, or run away. Boys stop at people^�s homes and whip the legs of every girl and woman who lives in the house. They sometimes catch the girl still in bed. Little boys say an Easter 2004 carol while whipping, usually asking for an egg or two. A popular custom is also to grab the girl and throw her in cold water, the “Easter dousing”. The whipping and dousing is supposed to chase away bad spirits and illness, so this is actually good for the girl!

Of course it is! I can’t imagine a girl not wanting to be whipped in the legs or, if not yet arisen, awoken by being tossed into water (and the same goes doubly for grown women at the mercy of boys). And anybody who has a problem with it this is clearly so whacked out and disassociated from reality as to not even be worthy of debate.

Margaret Cho

Posted in General at 12:21 pm by Ian

I have 3 tickets left for Margaret Cho on Saturday. I can’t go. First to respond gets ’em.

March 22, 2004

Writing Center Wall

Posted in General at 10:45 pm by Ian

I submit to you this marvel of the English language, proposed by Dave Gaebler, and written on the white board in the Writing Center:

The contraction of “You all would not have”: Y’all’d’n’t’ve

It clocks in at a 30+% increase in efficiency.

We Want You!

Posted in Political at 9:47 am by Ian

You may remember, a while ago, when I mentioned the American Family Association‘s poll on gay marriage, which didn’t quite go as well as they had hoped.

Well, it seems that they didn’t really learn from their lesson. I just received an automated email from them telling me about another online poll, this time to predict the next President of the US. But, see, they sent this email to all the people who voted for gay marraige last time, thus again rendering their poll a humorous example of a skewed sample.

Either that, or with 89% of the conservative traditional-family crowd, Kerry’s going to win this thing in a walk.

March 20, 2004

Fast or Slow?

Posted in General at 2:49 pm by Ian

We went to see Dawn of the Dead, and I have to say that I was overwhelmingly in favor. I’s clear that the Romero paradigm of zombies is no longer the dominant one, as we see faster and more bloodthirsty zombies becoming the norm.

Personally, I prefer the fast ones. But the philosophies of the two are very much different. The Romero zombies were about pointing out the degradation of society and humanity, that we were all reduced to habit and routine. The zombies are completely passive, only reacting to their environment and the repetition of common actions. Add that to the anti-consumer message of the original Dawn, and there’s a definite message about the dangers of conformity. Slow zombies are, if nothing else, more pitiful. In the original Dawn, the slow amble of the zombies and the relatively human-like attributes makes you identify more with them. The scene where Francine slumps, exhausted, in front of the glass door and sighs as she sees a zombie on the other side do the same and stare at her is almost motherly. It was more a sadness that things had come to this than it was an all out war.

And you certainly don’t get that with the running, screaming, snarling, animalistic zombies. The shift is not just because running zombies are more challenging foes, but because the comment on the human condition is no longer that we are thoughtless automatons, but that we are, under the surface, bloodthirsty and angry.

March 18, 2004

Brains!!!!

Posted in General at 1:01 pm by Ian

Watchin’ zombie movies tonight in my suite, in honor of the remake of Dawn of the Dead coming out tomorrow. We’ll be watching the original classic Dawn of the Dead, and the recent and really cool 28 Days Later.

-What do we want?
-Brains!
-When do we want ’em?
-BRAINS!!!

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