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There’s a storm outside.

The weather all over the Bay Area, as far out as us in Santa Cruz has been a most formidable opponent today. I am hoping this blows over before tomorrow and doesn’t affect my flight to Vegas for Ranier’s birthday. I’m taking shelter inside and it’s forced me to get all of my school work done on time. Every time I venture outside to take in the fresh air and feel the impetuous wind on my face, I immediately think of the first chapter of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie. Prior to him leaving on his trip, the small bay where his cottage sits, and his boat is anchored, meets with a small hurricane. His description fits today perfectly.

“The wind struck on the moment we were told it would, and ripped the water like a black sheet. It hammered like a fist. The whole top of an oak tree crashed down, grazing the cottage where we watched. The next gust stove one of the big windows in. I forced it back and drove wedges in top and bottom with a hand ax….We watched the wind rip at earth and sea like a surging pack of terriers. The trees plunged and bent like grasses, and the whipped water raised a cream of foam.”

excerpted from Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck, 1961, pg. 11

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Anywho, I was thinking today about an article I read quite some time back in Wired Magazine called “The End of Science” which also correlates closely with John Horgan’s 1996 book by the same title. Both these writings discuss the the possibility that the era of scientific revolution may be drawing to a close; that most of life’s big mysteries are generally pretty well understood or theorized. The Wired article discusses more that the previous era of science was based largely around standout people, geniuses, scientists, and brilliant thinkers, of the Einstein and Hawking lot. The one we are either approaching or in the midst of must rely more on the seemingly infinite amounts of data and its organization which has been brought on by the internet and the age of information. Ehsan Masood writes in a June, 2009 blog for the Guardian that Horgan,

“claimed that the basic scaffolding of the natural world is now mostly understood – the big bang theory, the structure of DNA and evolution by natural selection and the periodic table of elements are not going to change. Yes, many refinements are needed in our understanding of how things work, but as we are closer to reality in so many fields, the chances of seeing revolutionary new thinking will be that much less.”

Masood and I are in agreement though. While many foundational aspects of the universe are understood, we are NOT out of big questions to answer. To obtain the new questions, all that needs to be done is that the aperture of questioning be widened. It’s widely known in the world of physics that over 90% of the universe is  made up of dark matter and energy, though almost nothing is known about them. Things like Singularity, Unification Theory, String Theory and our universe’s origin are all mysteries that nearly define the model of what big, encompassing questions entail.

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Now, I am not nearly smart enough to say anything remotely intelligent past that so I’m going to change the subject. Something I have been postulating  in my head during anthropology classes that related to the end of scientific revolution is that (and I hate generalizing so much and know it is wrong to use broad terms such as “we”, “us”, and “society”) we, as a society are moving out of an era of discovery and into one of production. At Santa Cruz I notice mainly two types of students, liberal arts students and students in of the sciences. My generalization of this is that it seems like the science students are being taught to follow, interpret and use broad sets of instructions which can be applied to the production and synthesization of many different objects and materials that are completely necessary for the world to keep turning as it is and for us to continue with our current levels of comfort. These people will find jobs doing this, though with more and more automation, higher populations and more and more competition in school, this is becoming more and more difficult. On the other hand, all the students who share my anthropology major, or share a similar type of field of study are being more or less “trained(?)”  to sit around and analyze the world, or if not sit, go out and fly somewhere exotic and then analyze the world from there. Now there are some benefits of this such as increased awareness of the peoples and places of a world that is inevitably moving on, but there are only so many people who can sit around contemplating existence. I am aware that I am doing just that by typing these thoughts, and that by merit of my major I am included in these vast pools of thinkers, but hey the main reason that I picked this major was so that I could go on adventures and not sit in an office.

An offshoot of this phenomena can be seen in fashion and style. It has been quite some time since I have noticed anything truly revolutionary in the world of fashion. Some attempts have been made in the spirit of small scale singularity and function, such as Nike’s foray into the shoes that sync with your iphone and tell you distances and speeds and such, but these products generally end up being novelties. It seems like in the last few years, styles for my age group and sex have drifted from the neon explosions and artificial fabrics of the overly exaggerated 80s, to the grungy flannels and and shipyard beanies of the Kobain narrated 90s. More recently though I have seen a sweeping movement to further back in time. What seems to be the current generation of style is the depression era, or at least some combination of clothing and materials that bounces around between the 30s, 40s and early 50s. The evidence of this can be seen in any number of style blogs such as Secret Forts, A Time To Get, A Continuous Lean, and The Pursuit Aesthetic. Raw Denim, rough, untreated natural fabrics and simple cuts paint a portrait of a vogue that is trying to get back to the time that men were supposedly “men”  and guys younger than most of us had to fight an enemies that were clear cut on the sides of good and evil, and where the world held much mystery and there was much to invent and explore. This also harks back to a time when American production was huge and we didn’t just produce knowledge and cinematic adventures.

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Maybe these style trends simply a longing for a time when the scientific revolution had infinite planes and endless expanses to navigate, but I argue that this is still the case. Now I ought to go, my leather shoes are getting uncomfortable,  my iphone needs charging and I have to read about something indigenous to somewhere for some analytical anthropology class.

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Australia, pt. 3, Conclusion.

My apologies for a late third and final entry into my Australia trip updates. I’ve been quite swamped with moving moving into my new house in Santa Cruz and starting school. But where I left off I believe was leaving Pittwater. After returning back to Manly, we rested and ate for the majority of the day. The following day, Robby and I headed into Sydney to meet up with Javier at the University of Sydney so that we could sit in on one of his lectures. We took the bus from the Circular Quay ferry building and met with some navigation difficulties, but eventually made it to the made building and quad to meet Javier. I expected UoS to be a modern looking, bright and blue-eyed school, more akin to UCSC than Hogwarts, but boy was I wrong. Aided by an uncharacteristically overcast day the school felt, smelled, and looked like it was in England. The buildings look like medieval castles with ornate stone carvings shielding the tops of the roof. Ever plant was exquisitely manicured and there are a plethora of small, hidden gardens throughout the wings of the school. Even the lawns are perfectly groomed to what seems an exacting cut to each blade of grass.

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After finding our way to the main quad, we met with Javier and after a brief tour of the area he escorted us to his lecture hall. We were to sit in on his easier class, for second year students. The class was concerning an introduction to Iranian Archaeology, which was a big deal that it was being offered as a class for lower division students. We sat down in the back but quickly had to stand again as Javier introduced us to the class and told them any questions they had about American could be directed to us. We then sat and listened to Javier give a fantastic lecture on early Elamite architecture vernacular architecture for just over an hour.

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Lucky for us, Javier was done for the day and after showing us his office, we decided coffee was in order. By the way, Javier’s office is home to such a collection of both antique and obviously rare old books its astounding. The line the wall from floor to ceiling and are rigorously organized according to subject. We headed out across the grounds of the school, through fields and past fountains until we arrived at Javier’s favorite coffee shop. This coffee shop is just slightly off campus and though the name alludes me right now, the place looked like the type of shop that fashion magazines write pieces about or hold photoshoots at. It was the type of place where the Baristas take their jobs seriously and the coffee is treated as as much of an art form as it is a beverage. After this we were hungry and Javier suggested that if we were in the mood for seafood that he wanted to take us to the famous Sydney Fish Market, so off we went. After carousing the various seafood vendors we settled on one and each ordered a plate. What we didn’t know was that each variety “plate” consisted of a virtual mountain of various sea creatures piled sky high onto a large plastic shell. We dove in amongst the clamor of anxious seagulls waiting for one of us to drop something. We eventually finished and pressed on, past our food comas, and attempted to walk off the feast we had just indulged ourselves in. Javier showed us more parts of Sydney such as an the expensive malls and hidden parts of the Rocks. A pub, tucked away into one of the alcoves of the area. The pub was called The Hero of Waterloo and is supposedly the real oldest pub in Sydney. We then headed in, sitting on the bow of the ferry, through rougher waters than usual.

The next day, Robby and I prepared and packed for our trip to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains while we waited for our 2 o’clock train. We headed to the train station and embarked on our 2.5 hour, inland West train ride. The train was quiet, comfortable and somewhat vintage. Javier later told us they’ve done no upgrades to the trains in 20 years. Upon entering Katoomba, we were a bit confused. Though the town was quaint, the brilliant natural beauty that we had been told of was nowhere to be found. We checked into our hostel and headed out to explore the pubs and eateries of the area but quickly tired of this and found the greasiest chips and pizza place nearby and treated ourselves to a feast. Our hunger quenched, we headed off to explore the local shops and wound up at an amazing place called Mr. Picwics Rare and Antique Books. This venerable and archaic shop was one of those book shops that is almost bursting at the seams with every manner of book, with a quiet old man sitting serenely behind the  counter reading, complete with long grey bear and spectacles. After our curiosity had been adequately rendered we headed to the pub for stories and beer followed  by a walk to where, according to our map, this wonderful wilderness was supposed to begin.

Upon arrival at our destination, we were not disappointed. At the end of a dull suburban looking street, we reached the precipice of what I can only compare to majestic views of the Grand Canyon. Civilization literally halted and one could only see into eternity and past it through warm oranges and earthy peach light. The oil emitted from the thousands of eucalyptus leaves tinted the entire exalted landscape a light blue. In the morning, during our hike the whole place would be foggy and overcast, destroying the atmosphere for a proper photograph, so sadly my only evidence of this marvel was taken on my iphone.
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The night was capped off by reading in a comfy armchair around a picture-perfect fire at the hostel.

In the morning we met and conversed with our roommate, a young German guy who was working in the hostel’s kitchen for free room and board. He quickly left for his job duties though and Robby and I packed up and headed out. We stopped for coffee and breakfast at one of the only early open cafe’s on the main road and enjoyed an English breakfast and coffee. We made out way back to the trail head at the precipice we had encountered the night before and started in. We headed out and within minutes had almost forgotten about the civilization only a few thousand feet behind us. What we entered felt like a wilderness the like of which I had never experienced. The tropical rain forest stretching out before us looked like the type of place you usually only see in the movies, where adventure lurks around every corner and where throngs of wildlife, big and small, looms beneath the dense canopy. We hiked for several miles enjoying the pristine silence. We hiked to rocky overlooks on the cliffs. We hiked 900 steps down to the forest floor on the God’s Staircase, and then we hiked some more past Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters cliffs. After more miles had passed, we got to the end of our particular trail, where luckily for our knees, we didn’t have to hike 900 steps back up, but got to take a gondola back to the top.

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That afternoon we took the train back to Manly. We unpacked and went to the beach and slept. The next and last few days were spent with more exploration of Manly and the beaches. Swimming and eating and relaxing were our highest priorities. Eventually we had to pack and say our goodbyes though. We did this with much thanks to our hosts for making our time here so enjoyable and then headed off for one more ferry and train ride to the airport. On the airplane as we flew higher into the sky I was able to look back at this isolated corner of the world and know that one day I will be back.

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Australia pt. 2

I’ve been in paradise, I swear it. The last fews days have continually garnered more and more activity and adventure here in Australia. It started with my Dad and I venturing off on our own into Sydney. We started the day out by catching the morning ferry across the bay. The weather was immaculate, in the mid 70s F, without a cloud in the sky. After disembarking at Circular Quay, we traversed our way through the waves of morning commuters, tourists, street performers and kids on their way to school. We quickly made our way to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which I just learned recently held the worlds largest pair of underwear for the Guinness World Record.

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Upon the entering the garden, one is struck by the variety of flora and fauna. At one moment you can be walking through a small trail of tropical rainforest, and the next be sitting on the edge of enormous fountains, amongst perfectly trimmed hedges reminiscent of French palaces.

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Large birds with long, curved beaks patrol the grounds and eagerly find interest in any food you may be eating. This became evident while my Dad and I ate a lunch of chicken sandwhiches and iced tea on the massive lawns. As we explored the gardens more, we encountered the famous bats of the gardens. These bats, called Flying Foxes, are about a foot tall, with wingspans that must have been almost three feet. Hundreds of them live in the trees of one particular part of the garden and are constantly swooping about.

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We continued walking around the permiter of the gardens along the water. As we did this we encountered hoards of wedding photographers, the filming of a Japanese soap opera, a large flock of Cockatiels (one of which decided to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to eat my shoes), and finally the New South Wales Art Museum. We purused the museum for a while and then headed to The Rocks.

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Sydney is an extremely modern, civilized and clean city for the most part. The Rocks are the oldest part of the city, with a much more colonial feel. We took in the sights a bit and then settled on a pizza for dinner and then an old pub to watch Rugby and have a few pints. We made our way back via the night ferry and although it was cold and windy, sat on the bow, enjoying the crashing waves, gliding gulls and salty breeze.

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The next day while Javier and Julie worked and Lulu was at school, we spent the entirety of the day at Manly Beach, sunbathing, reading and then hours bodyboarding. Even on a week day there were a decent amount of surfers and bodyboarders out. It was hot and the water was perfectly cool with just the right sized waves. I figured myself in pretty good shape after working at the Lair all summer, hiking and playing sports for 3 months, but the culture here makes me feel almost slobbish and wanting to excercise and be active constantly.

Later in the day after everyone had returned home, we packed our bags and Julie, Javier, Lulu, my Dad and myself headed to the bus stop to begin our trek to Pittwater Youth Hostel. Neither my Dad nor I knew what to expect from this place, but Julie was very enthusiastic. We took the bus for about an hour, then got off and headed to a small pier. We had missed the last ferry and had to call for a water taxi. As we waited we went into the resturaunt/general market on the pier to eat fish and chips and chat with the owners. The water taxi arrived as a small pink motor boat driven by a burly man. We got in and he immediately hit the throttle, speeding off across the water. As we raced through the night, the hills surrounding us blinked with light from the houses that dotted them. I examined the night sky, just having realized that being in the Southern Hemisphere meant that their was an entirely new set of stars and constellations that I had never seen before. The most recognizeable being Scorpius.

We got off the boat at a small, dark dock. Javier handed us all flashlights, or torches as the call them here, and we began walking along a pitch black trail, up a decently sized hill. After about 15 minutes we reached the Hostel, got into our rooms and immediately passed out, barely knowing where we were. I woke up to the squawking of a very loud Kookaburra. When I came out of my room I was greeted by an incredibly view with valleys into the bush on the left and valleys down to the water on the right. The large verandah, filled with picnic tables, bird feeders, a hammock, and benches, found everyone already out snacking on breakfast and drinking coffee.

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As I sipped my coffee we met the guy we were sharing a room with. His name was Luke and he was in his early 30s. We talked with him over breakfast and he told us about growing up in Sydney, living in Paris, being a lawyer, and going back to school to explore his intellectual side. There were several other familys there for the weekend, but the hostel was small and at full capactiy, there were only around 15 of us total. One of the first things that is striking as soon as you get away from the cities is the wildlife. We had gotten mostly used to seeing tropical birds, but up at this hostel, we got to meet several Wallabies who liked to hop around the lawn, looking for a snack. Accompanying  them were several Lace Goannas which are reptiles which look much like Komodo Dragons but are smaller. Most of the ones we saw were about three to four feet long. These guys constantly scrambled around the lawn and the deck looking for food, and would walk right up to your feet. They aren’t aggressive though and would constantly run away at any sudden movements.

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After breakfast we headed up the hill behind the hostel for a bush walk. We walked for a couple miles on a trail flanked on the right by amazing views of the bay and surrounding areas. We found a big hill off the trail and scrambled up it into some rocks. As we got to the rocky cliffs at the top, we realized it was one of the highest points around. To the right was the water, but to the left you could see for miles, and miles off into the Australia outback. It was mesmerizing. We could see just 1/100,000 of the country, and it was still almost to massive to take in.

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We eventually returned back to the hostel, had lunch, and rented kayaks. We got into the water and paddled across a corner of the bay into a grove of Mangrove trees. Behind this we found a small beach and got out for a swim in the crystal clear water. After returning to the kayaks we headed off towards another secluded beach, paddling around the many sailboats and small yachts filled with sunbathers and partiers. After we ran our kayaks ashore, Javier and I headed back behind the beach and found a dry creek bed that wound back into the forest. We followed it back until it got too steep, but where we ended was the most tropical place I had ever been. It seemed like we were in the middle of some magnificently rich rainforest. Everything around us was so lush and green. The sun was starting to set behind the hills so we got back in the kayaks, paddled back to the dock and headed back up the hill to the hostel.

Upon returning, we found the verandah of the hostel bathed in orange from the setting sun. The 3 other families there had begun to prepare their dinner and little kids were roasting marshmellows around the firepit. I fired up the grill and Javier brought out a whole red snapper to cook while Julie toiled away in the kitchen.

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My dad and I shared a couple pints of a dark Australian beer as we waited. Eventually we all crowded around a picnic table outside near the fire and dove into a feast of fish, vegetables, couscous, olives and white wine. After the food coma subsided and we sat around the fire for a bit, I made my way to bed and slumbered away.In the morning we packed our bags and headed out, stopping for breakfast on the edge of the water at a cafe that greeted us with an incredibly fitting sign that read, “Just another day in paradise.”

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Australia pt. 1

So, my first quest to the Southern Hemisphere started as many of my international journeys unfortunately tend to, with a trip to the doctors. On the 14.5 hour direct flight, I immediately came down with a case of tonsilitis, which, being my third bout of the summer, means I most likely will have to get my tonsils removed within the coming year. Regardless, my spirits were high and I didn’t let it get me down. My father and I arrived at Sydney International and immediatley boarded the train for downtown. As we arrived we contacted our friends Julie and Javier, who told us to take Ferry number 3 across the bay to Manly, the town where they live and would be waiting for us.

We boarded the ferry and were treated to quite the unexpectedly amazing ride. As the ferry pushed across the bay, spectacular views of Sydney unfolded before us. The scenery was almost too picturesque, with Sydney Opera House resounding in an idyllic beauty worthy of any respectable postcard.

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The atmosphere is cool and temperate, but looks tropical, almost like paradise. We met two travelers, most likely in their mid-twenties on the seats next to us, who were from Portland and Seattle. They gave us some tips on what to enjoy in the coming days.

As the ferry docked and we unloaded, we were immediately greated by Julie, Javier and their ten yearl old daughter Lulu. Javier is a PhD in Archaeology from Berkeley who is now teaching at the University of Sydney. Julie is a tour guide at a historical garden here. We know them because Julie and my mother used to dance together at Mills. Javier is from Madrid and Julie from the California. They met in France while they were both living there. Javier only spoke Spanish and French, while Julie spoke French and English. They conversed in French and eventually learned eachothers native languages, becoming tri-lingual. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Javier has always still had a thick Spanish accent, which makes it extremely interesting to listen to him. Julie seems to be picking up a bit of an Aussie accent which is also very fun to hear. Lulu is one of the most delightful ten year olds I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She talks a mile a minute with all the charisma in the world and regails us with stories constantly, not leaving out a single detail.

They greated us enthusiastically and we walked into downtown Manly. Manly, which is in the state of New South Wales, is the most beautiful little beach town imaginable. Most everything is within walking distance or accesible by ferry. Javier and Julie don’t even need a car. The first thing we did was sit down at a cafe in the main square for coffee and conversation. As soon as this was done, Lulu walked to school and Javier took me to the doctors. Within 20 minutes I had met with a doctor, been assessed, and gotten the Penicillin I needed.

We then settled into their flat. Javier, Julie and Lulu live on the 2nd floor of a building right near the harbor. Their flat looks just as I would hope a PhD Archaeologist’s would. The place is decorated with artifacts and antiques all over the walls, with shelves overflowing with books. Their is little to no technology aside from the computer which Javier must have for research and writing. The whole place framed in rich molding and big windows overlooking the courtyard.

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As soon as we had showered and had tea, we went for a walk along the coast. It seemed like every turn created us with amazing beaches, sandy, wind weathered coastal buildings and amazingly rich vegetation. The birds here are marvelous and I was surprised to learn that large cockatiels reside all over.

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In fact, we were greated by several on our walk. We hiked up a hill, through old remnants of artillery stations from WWII and through brush and grasses taller than us. We arrived at the edge of epic cliffs and sat on the edge for a while as we watched seaplanes overhead and sailboats below. From our vantage point we could see all the ins and outs of the rocky coastline, dotted with cliff houses and sun kissed beaches.

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We kept walking along the coast, stopping to watch surfers and rock jumpers.

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Eventually we made our way back into the main parts of town to pick Lulu up from school. We got back to their flat and talked of our plans for the upcoming week and my energy quickly faded. I got to my bed and sleep hit me like a freight train. I slept for around 13 hours. I guess I’m making up for not sleeping much for the last 3 months.

We spent much of the next day exploring Manly and relaxing on the beach. On our way their we went to the post office with Javier to send in his complete and final copy, ready for publishing of his first full book. His colleagues around the world are calling it one of the most important archaeological findings in recent history and will solidify his place as a respected scholar of the ancient civ of that region. His book is about the Elamite culture which pre-dated Iran and Persia and most likely influenced those cultures immensely. Javier spent months in Iran after the revolution cataloguing artifacts that were excavated from elite Elamite tombs.

After sending his book to the publishers in Belgium we made our way to Little Manly Beach and ate a fulfilling and tasty lunch of salmon, fennel, dates, macademia nuts and olives. The beach was too beautiful too describe and much more Meditteranean than I had expected.

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We ended the day in celebration of Javier’s 6 years of writing and research, by going to a local pub which brewed in-house one of the tastiest Hefeweizens I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. Cheers to that. Now we’re off to Sydney proper to explore the city a bit. More to come.

-Isaac

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Correspondence in Sarcasm.

Frank Sinatra, Yakov Smirnoff, Chevy Chase, Conan O’brien, Ray Ramano, Craig Ferguson, Drew Carey, Stephen Colbert and Wanda Sykes are all exceptional entertainers who, aside from being well versed in the subtle points and prose of comedy, have, since its inception in 1945, been the principle entertainers at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Their monologues generally shed light on many of the grossly over-reported stories concerning the current administration’s woes and victories, follies and shortcomings and other general absurdities. Though the President always has a speech, peppered with pre-written jokes, from the ones that I have viewed, most notably the performances during the Bush administration, the President seems disingenuous, awkward and exhibits a bit of malaise through the whole ordeal.

This year I was pleasantly surprised. The rampant Obama fanaticism almost set him up for failiure; I mean the man can’t also be a comedian…but damn’t…he was, and he was enjoying it, pausing frequently to chuckle. Throughout Obama’s monologue, the President often poked fun at himself and his supporters, opening with the comment that the entire WHCA voted for him.  He also frequently made fun of his over-use of the teleprompters as well as his wife’s fashion and the ridiculocity of the search for the White House dog. 

Now some pundit’s have commented negatively on his speech, expressing distress that he may have crossed lines or told jokes that were in poor taste. All that means to me though is that the President was BEING FUNNY. If you want to appease everyone and not cause any controversy, its best to stick to jokes that you read on popsicle sticks, or in the little comics that come with Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum.

For reference:

BZcomic4Hi-larious. 

An example of where some think Obama may have gone overboard is when the President joked that Sasha and Malia were grounded for taking AirForce One for a joyride, in reference to the recent disasterous photo-op that scared half of Manhattan and had one man lose his job. Another is where Obama made fun of the Republican Rep from Ohio,  John Boehner, and his ridiculous fake tan. Obama quipped that Boehner and him were both men of color, though for Boehner, “not a color that appears in the natural world.” I laughed out loud at that. I mean that is funny, and it could of been worse, I mean no one even mentioned that the man’s last name sounds exactly like a word for an erection.

And though the President’s speech contained a few stale and overplayed topics such as Fox News being biased and Dick Cheyney shooting people in the face, his final, heartfelt, well spoken and articulate remarks about the importance of journalism during the past, present and future concluded his monlogue perfectly. Overall, it was the perfect mixture of self-awareness, poignant praise and recognition, and relevenat humor.

I guess the whole point of this is that I am happy that the President is aware of and understands, nay embraces, the art of sarcasm. I am by no means obsessed with Obama nor one of the many who think he can do no wrong. Politics aside, its just nice to know the man in charge of the country has a sense of humor and a good one at that. I am a strong believer that laughter can be the best medicine, and during the darkest of times, nothing is more important than keeping your chin up, with a smile wide across your face, and it seems the President knows that.

The transcript can be found here!

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/05/obama_at_the_white_house_corre.html

And you can check out the speech in it’s entirety, here!

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Things that look like other things, but aren’t the things that they look like. Also, Icelandic epicness.

Lately, and by which I mean for a couple years now, I’ve been noticing an influx of products that disguise themselves as other things, either because its ironic or novel or gimmicky, or sometimes just pretty LOLtastic. I’ve been trying to decipher what designates  each individual product into the particular category, but all I can come up with is personal taste. For example…

Nike makes socks that look like a pair of Dunks. They even have a variety of colors and styles of dunksocks.

Awesome? Yes, and double points if you wear them under an actual pair of matching Dunks creating a rare interaction more formally known as D^2.

nikesocksNext up there are those zip up hoodies that zip ALL the way up, including zipping the hood over your face. They make a mask-esque garment that gets screen painted over to make you look like a superhero or a BAPE character or Rush Limbaugh, or what I believe may be the root, a Misfits style skeleton.

Awesome? No, but it doesn’t particularly bother me in anyway. These just aren’t my particular style. I’m sure some of those who wear these are legitimate people but I do not think these are acceptable in public past 8th grade. Actually, I would have probably copped one of these in middle school. It’s like when you’re in early elementary school, experimenting with how to dress yourself, and your mom wants you to comb your hair and wear pants but all you want to do is look like spiderman. Maybe these sweatshirts are just a manifestation of those early desires, but tweaked to accommodate the ever increasing age of the American manchild. I just don’t feel like you’d see anyone wear something like this past the age of 12 outside of the U.S. aside from possibly some Eastern European tweaker rave kids.

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The final item I was thinking about for this topic is an Ipod speaker setup they sell at IronicOutfitters™.

These speakers are meant to look like one of those super analog, humongous boomboxes from the 80s that were really popular with early hiphoppers and cardboard box break dancers. These were popular because they were the smallest portable music players with decent sound quality. 

Today, we have 160 gig Ipods that don’t run off 12 D batteries, headphones and portable speakers that produce sounds that would be considered heavenly by comparison and and a sluagh of embedded equalizers that can reproduce any sound quality imaginable.

Instead, some genius, whose thought process can only have been “OMG lets make a fake piece of technology from 20 years ago but charge mad $$$skrilla$$$ for it and leave it devoid of any useful functionality, LOL” went and created this monstrosity.

14769103_00_fAwesome? No. Thankfully I have yet to see anyone carrying one of these down the street. I’m sure it will happen though. That shall be a grim day.

I’d like to end on a positive note though. 

I am a huge fan of Sigur Ros, the well known post rock band from Iceland. Besides awe inspiring, celluloidic romance inducing, melodic music, they have some of, in my opinion, the best music videos ever. Editorializing aside though, they hire some astounding cinematographers and directors of photography. My favorite of their music videos is the one for the song Glósóli.

WATCH THIS

http://vimeo.com/3977937

Something about this video gets me everytime. It may be the that quality of it being almost the real world, but something is just a little off, like in Michel Gondry and Wes Anderson films, or the photography of David LaChapelle. It might be the sense of adventure and exploration I pined for as a kid and got to experience growing up, aided by an active imagination. It might just be the astonishing backdrop of Icelandic wilderness. I’m pretty sure I love this video because its a bit of all of those things. It also has that ethereal feeling of celestiality which is coupled with intensive community and belonging. Heading towards the unknown on a team driven quest, presented in such a romanticized vision just really touches the depths of me. I’m not a religious person, but I doubt there is anyone alive who doesn’t wish for something a little bit more here, hoping not everything is what it seems, and that something really does exist beyond the trivial goings on of our egomaniacal lives.

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Back from disaster.

So,  I am finally updating this blog…from a brand new laptop. I have been without a computer for a few weeks and the hiatus was not a voluntary one. My old laptop battled an unbeatable foe and was destroyed. I shall now tell the tragic tale, so that it’s memory may live on in the collective consciousness.

In the span of history there have been a few villains, though some misunderstood, who posed an opposition so great that they crushed nearly everything in their paths. A few examples of this are as follows:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

evolution-t-rex

Attila the Hun

attila_the_hun

And still practically immortal, the Yeti from Skifree.

skifree_yeti

Now the foe that my laptop faced was a hidden demon who disguised it’s malace under the guise of a delicious cup of Chamomile tea. I had just settled in for a relaxing morning of reading at Stevenson Coffee House. As I bent down to get my notebook, the bastard emerged from its paper cup in all of its evil splendor and poured itself directly into the center of my laptop keyboard. Steaming plastic, a pile of napkins and much public embarassment later, my laptop gasped its last dying breath of fresh air and sank into the darkness of eternal slumber.

And that my friends, is the story of how a cup of tea and my own clumsiness coalesced into one magnanimous clusterfuck of negativity that left me technologically impotent for almost a month.

 

Moving on.

For anyone who does not know, the way that slow motion (or slo-mo for the advanced users) is achieved is with a video camera that shoots more frames than necessary. The average video camera at normal speed shoots 24 frames per second. This offers a quasi accurate depiction of the normal speed of movement. Anything more than that and things become increasingly slow. There is a new digital video camera that is coming out that reportedly shoots 1000 frames per second in high def. That means that in 1 second of time this camera photographs 1000 perfectly exposed photos. That is impressive as hell and the samples speak for themselves. Click the link to check it out and be wowed…and especially watch the fire breather. 

http://www.vimeo.com/4167288

If anyone still reads this let me know and I’ll work on updating it more often. 3 upper division classes + reading + photographing for the newspaper have left me with much less time than last quarter. But let me know because I love writing here.

and don’t forget to read and support us at http://www.cityonahillpress.com and http://www.sluglife.org

-Isaac

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