meaningless lists

reading log



20030110 - Investing in Gold

You'll occasionally see the odd commercial or late night infomercial about how you should be investing in gold. (Especially after the self-immolation.) Gold is secure. Gold is safe. Gold is a good investment. Gold is sexy.

But last I heard there were quite a few people who were still trying to recoup their investment (without taking inflation into consideration) from sinking a lot of money into gold in the late 60's and early 70's. They bought gold because they bought the hype and it was just sitting there, stagnant. So of course the people invested in gold are very interested into convincing others to invest in gold--please!

Sure, gold is safe. If the economy and government collapse, you'll still have your gold. (Except most of the investment-grade gold is kept somewhere else, for you, and you have to pay for that keeping, so if everything goes to hell, you'll be stuck eating long-pig, rat meat, and cockroaches with the rest of us.)

It seems to me that the only people who should be investing in gold then are the anarchists. And they should be buying all those damn gold coins as seen on TV.

20030109 - USA vs. Brazil: A Delayed Report

A couple months ago, I participated in a Trivia Night at Old Toad's British Pub in Rochester, NY. The team I was on was made of mostly Freeque Biskit's co-workers, and two of them are from Brazil/Brasil. Three of the questions were about South American geography: "How many countries in South America does the Equator pass through?", "Which is the eastern-most country in South America?" and something else.

I brushed up on my South American geography about 3 years ago when I was working with a bunch of crazy Colombians doing marketing multimedia for South American companies, so I knew all three answers.

The Brazilians did not.

Now, isn't this supposed to be the other way around? Aren't Americans supposed to barely be able to distinguish water from land on a completely colored and labeled map? Isn't every other country's education system kicking our ass?

Well, folks, it looks like that's not always the case. It's times like these that I'm proud to be an American.

U - S - A   *stomp*
U - S - A   *stomp*
U - S - A   *stomp*
U - S - A   *stomp*

20030107 - Friends

Took 2 weeks off from work, visited the parents, saw a bunch of people. Amazing how the net/cell technology turns what would have been seeing a few people individual people into a mass meeting of friends without the work of actually planning a "convention."

I saw a lot of people I miss, people who were a part of my intellectual stimulation during the time-period of college and my first post-college job.

And there were two people that I had spent a lot of time with in the past, but it was a relationship where we hung out in the same place so we always got to see each other but rarely made an 'appointment' with each other, or there were mutual friends who were closer so we just relied on them to bring us together. Anyway, the point is that sometimes you don't realize how good it feels to talk with certain people till you leave and come back.

Ben set me up first, making me remember why I'm an artist, inspiring me with some work that had been influenced by my work. Then Kate spiked with her "first and only Artist's Work." It just blew me away. I want to take some time to go look at it about 8 hours. I should find out when her Senior Show is and go see it. Kate's also intimidating because she's not quite graduated yet and she's already got her business plan.

It was also really cool to talk to people who ask questions like "what exactly does post-modernism mean?" again. (I think I broke one of the first laws of post-modernism by actually trying to communicate my understanding of its meaning to someone. Call the Jazz Police!)

Where do I find intellectually stimulating people in Rochester?

Yeah, sure, hanging out with burners at Camp Dionysia, Playa del Fuego, Burning Man, etc. (none of which are Rochester) is cool, but there's this distance between us that I (at least) can't break. Maybe it's just my shyness/discomfort with new people. But it's not just an introvert vs. extrovert issue, because I've listened to a lot of conversations at such events and I've not really heard much in that vein. Maybe I'm just missing it, and maybe it's that these are camping events and not sitting with a good friend over coffee (or pitchers of iced tea).

Part of the problem is that I didn't know how much I missed that rapport, and even now I can't quite define what it is that's missing. Where in Rochester, NY are the pseudo-intellectuals who are interested in more than social-climbing over your corpse (or even intellectuals who don't take themselves too seriously).

Kate and Ben recommend House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. His sister is the musician Poe, and her album Haunted covers much of the same material as the book. They also recommend the album.

I'm not sure if Rochester people read books.

Where are the people in Rochester who want to discuss Stephen Jay Gould's discoveries about Duchamp's artwork, printmaking techniques, William Gibson's short story (and cyberpunk manifesto) "The Gernsbach Continuum", where to take welding classes, and bookbinding?

Wholesome. When people ask us what Rochester is like, the response is "Wholesome". Sure there's theft and panhandling and black women's decomposing bodies found in the parks and frat boys, but the part of Rochester that we seem to be seeing is just: Wholesome -- blandly wholesome, like Friends.

Then again, I spent a lot of time reading massive amounts of books and the 20 or so magazines I was subscribed to in Ames, so maybe I'm valorizing the past conversational quality. But still, was good to see friends who knew good words.