6.30.2004

Insight into my Stupidity

I only understood last night, after some twenty years of following it, the symmetry between Spiderman and Doctor Octopus. Eight legs!

I'm sure there are about a dozen issues of the comic that hammered this home but I've never read any of them. As I realised how elegant it was, I also realised how obvious it was and then how slow I was.

Kind of: "Ah! Hey. Oh..."

6.29.2004

Biology

We share this planet with a host of other organisms each with its own survival strategy. Every one of them has their own niche carved out and evolution gives them the tools to survive. As I sit at home playing host to the Streptococcus variant of life, this idea of sharing the planet with others sounds like total crap to me.

When North America and South America collided and formed the land bridge we call Central America species from both continents met and exchanged habitats for the first time. Sadly, nearly all of the species from delicate, wet South America could not survive the tough life in the north. North America, however, sent a fleet of big hungry animals to thrive down south. Pumas, bears, deer, raccoons. It was a field day. Only one animal from the south thrived in the new world, the armadillo. Who said life had to be beautiful? The harsh, unforgiving cimate of the north produced strong, robust and adaptable species. The delicate, unique South American continent gave us fragile and isolated creations.

Survival of the fittest is a fine motto that life on this planet has adhered to since the first dawn on Earth. This is why humans now face threats to our immune system. Most bacteria and virii have been reduced to shambles by increased hygiene, vaccination and modern medicine in the western world. Globally, mankind declared war on smallpox, one of our most dreaded enemies. We won. I think it's amazing to defeat another species. Go team! We are unintentionally squeezing out hundreds of other species every passing. Some of them are probably useful but I'd be willing to be bet we're crushing as many harmful ones as we are beneficial ones.

There seems to be only one front left to attack us and evolution dictates that we must be challenged on our weakness, the immune system. That which gives us our strength against invasion is being exploited by nature to ruin us. According to a grad student friend of mine, TB is teaming up with AIDS to give our medicine and immune systems a real run for our money. We're screwed, people. Someone just found out how to blow up the Death Star with a few photon torpedoes.

If you were worried about biological weapons being brought to bear in human conflict, get ready to watch the armada we'll need against Mother Nature.

Break

I Remember When Mars Was Red

There was a time when we could not imagine
Someone who had never seen Earth

I was there when things grew
Whether we liked it or not

I can attest that air and water
Needed no supervision

That bees and whales and bears
Did what they pleased

I think you’ve done great work
But you’ve reinvented the wheel

6.23.2004

One Human Life

This isn't a riddle.

You are in a mine cart, Indiana Jones and all that, hurtling down a track. You discover that your brakes are broken. The cart is totally out of control and picking up speed. You are about to bail when you can see ahead that the track forks. One track leads to three workers maintaining the track. The other track leads to a single worker, toiling alone in a dead end. You jump to safety and land next to the switch that controls which track the cart will go down. There is no escape for any of the workers, strangers every one of them, ahead of you on either track. Which track do you send the cart down?

You are working in a mine and you spot a cart full of ore rolling out of control down a track. (Stay the hell away from mine carts!) Three workers are ahead of the cart, oblivious to the lethal threat. The workers will surely die. You are standing behind a stranger who is also watching the tragedy unfold. You realise that if you pushed this stranger onto the track, the cart would be derailed and the three workers would be spared but the stranger would certainly be killed. Do you push the stranger onto the track?

Taken from an article in Discover Magazine

6.21.2004

Finish Line

Thus ends the Fringe. I would rate our last two shows a 9 and an 8. A pretty strong finish, and the performance of 9 was with a sell-out crowd. That's a nice feeling to sell-out a show. I also received my own personal negative review by a Fringe critic. But I have to admit that that night was my worst performance (the troupe as a whole is not proud of that 5 we did) so I can't really complain.

As it stands, I'm glad it's over because right now I'm exhausted and spent. I need to relax for a few days before launching into a weekend of more performing. The whole experience was amazing. Meeting artists, learning about how to promote and publicise yourself and a show, seeing some amazing shows, generally carousing and having a blast at the Fringe was something I'll always remember. I feel I made the most of it and enjoyed every second.

6.17.2004

Exhaustions

So five shows down at the Fringe, two to go.

They've gone over well and I think we're building momentum. I have strong feeling that Friday's show will sell out and I'm little worried about Saturday's show. I really want to sell it out to finish on two strong shows. I think the Saturday show will be ok but if we can sell out the last two shows, I'll feel the festival as a whole has been a success.

The first five were a mixed bag. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to say they went 7, 9.5, 8, 5, 8.5. The "5" show was completely screwed by weak characters, lazy improv and a colossal bungle by our techie. The lights went down before we actually finished the final scene and the audience was left stunned.

I'm glad for the break today. The day off is gving me time to recover and, of course, watch the England game.

6.07.2004

Opinions

"So, did you like it?"
"So, was it good?"

I had a discussion with a friend recently about movies. I wasn't sure whether it was better to say "It was a good movie" or "I enjoyed the movie". It came down to the realization that those are independent things. I can appreciate the fact that a movie might be good in a technical sense but still not enjoy it (for me Titanic is one of those). Or there is a movie that I find no real flaws in but simply come away from it feeling flat, no reaction (The Matrix). On the other hand, I can see where a movie is deeply flawed from a movie-making aspect but still love it (Clerks would fall into this category).

This applies to any field of art. There is certainly music that I acknowledge requires very little work or complexity but is still very enjoyable. Paintings, theatre, etc, any endeavour can be measured and are evaluated on two axes. I have to admit that I did not make this distinction until I started thinking about it a few years ago and finally reached this conclusion on the weekend. I suppose from now on I'll be much more verbose when someone asks me to review a movie. That's what I'm always looking for, ways to be more pedantic.

6.03.2004

Aspersions

Be wary what you disparage, you may coin its name.

Impressionism got it's name from a Monet painting called "Impressions of a Garden". A detractor (and there were many at the time) proclaimed that that's all these paintings were, simply impressions. Thus, a entire genre was born from a single name.

The Big Bang (aka: The Horrendous Space Kablooie) was initially denounced by a detractor (and there were many at the time) as being implausible. How could the whole universe erupt from some "big bang"?

Gothic Architecture was derided thoroughly since it departed from classical forms. Its detractors (and there were many at the time) said that the whole group of buildings built in this style were barbaric in their ignorance of traditional shapes and forms. In fact, they looked like something the Goths would build.

Anew

So... I was, like, away for two weeks.

Maybe I shoulda said something, like, before.