Builders break out the bats!

Max, 2006/03/27 

Disclaimer: this is my personal blog. If you’re looking for the Coastside Builders Game Reports please go to The account below may be too brimful of fatherly pride for some readers sensitivities.

The Coastside Builders took their perfect 2-0 record to Smith Field #1 on a sunny and slightly breezy afternoon- a perfect day for baseball- going against Half Moon Bay Review.

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My Brain.

byronius, 2006/03/23 

Finishing ‘The Hard Sci-Fi Renaissance’, I came across a story by Ted Chiang, called ‘Understand’. The main character suffers brain damage in an auto accident, and is given an experimental drug that not only regrows neurons, but with many more dendrites, resulting in hyper-intelligence.

Chiang’s description of the character’s evolution is detailed, and made me jealous. I, too, would like to look at any mass of data or objects, and immediately form a gestalt that reveals all patterns in the set with a minimum of mental effort. I, too, would like to be able to make a quick ten million by easily perceiving stock market patterns and corporate trends. I, too, would like to create new music and write in new languages that reach far beyond common human endeavour, expressing universal ideas in forms that are akin to artificial intelligence, forms that reshape themselves entirely with each new phrase I contribute. I, too, would like to be able to control my autonomic bodily functions for shaped purpose, winning friends and influencing people without their consent or knowledge by projecting tailored pheromones. Although I would never use this ability. I Promise.

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Opening Day

Max, 2006/03/19 

Is there any greater day of hope and joy than the first day of the baseball season? I’m not talking about that great day in April when the Major League Baseball season officially commences, but something possibly even greater because of the ages of the participants involved, the first day of Little League baseball.

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Greasy, Dead Meat. Stop Yourself.

byronius, 2006/03/17 

Yeah, that's right. I'm a pig-hugger. I'm a fellow cow with a machine gun. One may easily wall off oneself from any continuity of spirit with one's fellow creatures. One may also stick hot pokers in one's eye, or vote Republican, or one of any millions of other proud acts which stand for Numbness. One may even wave a flag with "I AM NUMB" printed on it, with a paisley border and little green stripes running through the middle of it. Whole groups of humans occasionally do this. Pro-Bush rallies, fr'instance.

But the Religion of Numbness also demands that you NOT KNOW. Then, sometimes, when people suddenly KNOW, they go insane. Mostly from sudden SENSATION. Me, I got the Sensation from mocking a herd of cows while walking to work in Boulder one day. "I proclaim to you, Cows, that as your president, I will legislate greener pastures". Ha Ha. Stupid Cows. They all gathered around to look at me, with their beautifully liquid cow eyes (which I once dissected in Pre-Med), and gave me a great gift. An electric moment, which haunted me for years, until I sought escape from this Sensation through vegetarianism. I saw that they were People.

A friend of mine had a similar story — he was cow-tipping while drunk one night. He tipped one over — she woke up — and the look of fear and shock in her eyes mortified him into — yes — bein' a crazy Vegan.

Perhaps the unifying thread here is Personal Contact. Shrink-wrapped cow generally does not communicate the emotional content of their moment of death. If we all had to kill our own cows and pigs — why, vegetarianism would be Normal. Now, I ain't one of them crazy Vegans, no sir. I think they're LUNATICS. I'm what you call a typical, everday Starboard Vegetarian. I only eat Right-Wingers. Lots of Barbecue Sauce, 'cause they taste like crap. But it's hot and it's got calories, and slides right on down into my gullet, where they belong. Mmmm-mmm. Hope that Stranger-in-a-Strange-Land 'Grok' stuff ain't true. Ewwww.

I have often pondered on the humanity of Broccoli. And, until the Star Trek Food Machine shows up, or even a good Mineral Food Vat, I shall happily remain Numb to their pleas. Cry, Broccoli, Cry. Now get in my stomach. Wheeler once suggested that all particles are conscious. Crap. I'm numbing out on that one. Nothing crazier than a Vegan, exceptin' a crazy Particlarian.

Anyhoodle. Byronius, sounding off.

Track of the week: The Waterboys, The Pan Within

Max, 2006/03/16 

Ahh… the Waterboys, also known as Mike Scott and whatever talented friends he chose to play with at any of the various stages of his career. The classic Waterboys era was in the mid to late eighties when the albums This is the Sea and Fishermans Blues were released. These had the biggest hits like The Whole of the Moon, The Pan Within, and the title tracks of the two albums. Still, Scott's career has spanned over two decades thus far and he continues to be a first rate entertainer and songwriter. The show I saw him perform- with full rock ensemble at the Fillmore in SF in the fall of 2000- was up there with my favorite shows ever. Mike and the band played an exuberant, high energy set that will stick with me always. read more…

My shameful Gary Hart story

Max, 2006/03/14 

Yesterday, I stopped into the Ebb Tide Cafe, a charming little seaside coffeehouse south of San Francisco loaded with books for the customers to read or buy if so inclined. I was on a bike ride, and I just got a small coffee and started reading James Joyce’s “Dubliners”. I overheard a few people talking about somebody named Nick and I asked if they were referring to the former owner, the guy who had stocked the cafe with all of the wonderful books.

A middle-aged red haired woman, seated with a kindly looking elderly lady and another blondish younger woman, said “yes, Nick, the one with disheviled blond hair.” I said I’d never noticed his hair and she said, “women do,” whereupon I noted that I was now concerned whether I’d remembered to brush my hair that morning- but in any case being a bike rider with helmet hair provided my excuse.

The elderly lady cast a glance at me and said, “you know, you look like a Kennedy.” The redhead quickly added, “no, I think he looks like John Kerry.”

I was a little embarassed by their scrutiny, but I mentioned I’d occasionally heard such comparisons, but more often to Ted Danson of Cheers- to which they nodded agreement- and sometimes Gary Hart, the former presidential contender. They all remembered Hart, particularly becuase of his ill fated affair with Donna Rice which ended his second campaign for president in 1987.

“He probably would have been our president if it wasn’t for that trollop.” said the redhead. I agreed, but noted that I was pretty sure she had turned out to be a decent person who hadn’t tried to capitalize on her fame from the affair, unlike other notorious trollops like Jessica Hahn and, of course, Monica Lewinsky.

“You know, I once met Gary Hart,” I said in an offhand manner. They all perked up at this, so I began my Gary Hart story.

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If you want to give God a laugh…

Max, 2006/03/13 

… tell him your plans*

In all of our previous five winter trips, we’d never had better plans. With my new GPS I had mapped what appeared to be a fairly conservative route to pack in for a two night base camp. From there, I’d mapped out on the topo map what looked like a fun 4 mile loop. I figured that would do for a baseline and that we’d stretch things out judging by how we felt. God laughed.

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Mars and progressive thought, pt. 1

Max, 2006/03/03 

I am a committed liberal and also a futurist with a strong belief in the potentially benevolent power of science and technology. I love stories of future societies in exotic locations beyond Earth, particularly involving experimentation with social and governmental systems which enrich the human condition of the inhabitants of these worlds. Some of my favorite such stories involve the planet Mars. When George W. Bush proclaimed his vision for an ambitious new space program with the goal of returning a human presence to the Moon and then on to Mars, I was stuck in a quandary. Here was my great enemy, one I’d ridiculed as one of the worst presidents ever, now supposedly granting my greatest wishes. How have I resolved this dilemma? Not by abandoning my hopes for mankind to move onward into the reaches of space, and not by embracing the focus of my hatred and derision as a great visionary. Because I am convinced that Bush and his cronies, far from being visionaries, are short-sighted criminals interested only in filling their pockets at the expense of our future well-being. But enough about them. This post is about Mars and the good of humanity.

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