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(no subject)  
10:31pm 06/11/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
I know I've been posting a lot lately, but bear with me, I have a little more to say.

Sam just moved out, which is of great sadness to all concerned. However he was replaced by the illustrious Kelly Penguin, so the continuity of the mansion is maintained. Me and Kelly have known each other in one way or another for three years now. It's hard to believe it's that long, or how many strange adventures we've been through together, but I'm glad to have known her, and by extention, Dr. Stitchi (aka Sam), and also Hugh.

So I spent today drafting, reading, and doing battle with Kelly's laptop. It was finally vanquished today, and is now proudly sporting Xubuntu 8.04. Go team Linux.

Currently listening to Coheed and Cambria. Ah those were the days. I wonder what Patrick is up to with his newfound adulthood. 

A friend of mine from school just had a kid, which is terrifying beyond belief.

In other more important news

We're HAVING A PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!1111

It's to be a Rude/Wine party. Come along. Dress Rude. See facebook for more details. Or message me.

There's other even bigger more excitinger news as well, but it can't be revealed til after Sunday.

p0yuh ate her dinner so fast she spewed it all up again. Animals are crap.

I miss the Kelly/Hugh/Bron/Me Mascot Mansion team. 

I wonder how many former Mascot Mansionians we can get to come to the party.




I'm lurking: the mansion
I can hear: Welcome Home
 
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(no subject)  
01:30am 26/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
xkcd.com/149/

Could be the best comic of all time.

 
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(no subject)  
01:00am 24/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
When I grow up, I'm going to be a Finn.

Or a bicycle.

But I'm not going to be a med intern, cuz Lex, you've made that sound like it's just not very fun.

Cheese cures all ills in this world.

I'm reading a star wars novel. It's talking about a particular planet whose inhabitants are the star wars equivalent of the Amish. They don't like technology, and what they have is very backwards. All they have is laser guns and anti-gravity cars, and stuff like that. So backwards and primitive...

blue_budgie just discovered there were tomishiraga somen in the cupboard...

*walks away mysteriously*
 
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(no subject)  
10:51pm 21/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
So the last two times I've been out dancing, random girls have come up and complimented my dancing...

This is very unexpected, and I'm not sure whether they were being sarcastic, but they didn't seem to be. So that's nice...

The Crooked Fiddle Band were unreal last night. They lack a lot of stage presence, but their music makes up for it. And the support act being next to us in the crowd (us being blue_budgie , [Unknown LJ tag] and myself) and dancing like yahoos helped a lot. The support act was Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants, and they were also utterly unreal. The other support act was Flapp. We bought the CDs for the other two, and then realised as we were asking for them that Flapp were manning the counter and we'd just gone and not bought their CD. We felt a little bad, but it can't be helped.

Everyone should go dancing more often.
 
    Things you can do: See those 4 who have spoken - Speak! - Share - Link
 
communism  
10:02am 17/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
Apparently the Australian Communist Party is back, and plans to contest the next federal election. They are an umbrella of communist groups calling themselves the 'Communist Alliance.'

Are they serious?

Do they plan to make more sense than the Socialist Alliance currently does? Do they not realise communism stopped being cool at least thirty years ago? That even cuba is starting to cautiously step towards economic reform under its new leader?

The socialist alliance propaganda before the last election labelled the Greens to be militant imperialists. It also proposed the nationalisation of all industry AT THE SAME TIME as giving free tertiary education to all. How the fuck did they propose to afford that? Let alone the fuckup it would make of industry. (Dealt with a government institution lately?)

I'm at a loss for words. That people could still subscribe to an ideology that has been so totally discredited by as colossal an experiment as the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, and Red China. You can't test an idea much better than testing it on that many people (1.5 billion?). The best thing you can say for it is that cubans and soviet peoples had high literacy. I can't see that much else positive came of it.

The other thing that concerns me is the concept of electing a party whose platform is the overthrow of the system. When you elect the liberals, labor, or the Greens, you're not advocating the overthrow of the constitution. But a communist party, by it's nature, seeks to overthrow the system. Look where that got the Weimar Republic in 1936... within a few years it was the Third Reich and was attempting to take on the world.

But there isn't too much cause for concern: in the great contest of ideas that is democracy, the communist party will be ignored as savagely as the Socialist Alliance is today. (At my polling booth, the socialist alliance got 7 votes out of 1200 cast.)

Gotta love democracy.
I'm lurking: the control centre
I feel like: blahblah
I can hear: stars
tags: communism
 
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(no subject)  
02:19pm 13/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
Word on the street is that native american languages conceptualise the world spectacularly differently to Indo-European languages like english or Latin. Where we conceptualise everything as objects in space, and actions as forces acting on those objects, american languages conceptualise everything as processes or flows. This is a fairly monumental difference in world view, as far as I can tell.

One of the key issues here is that old issue of "What's in a name?" To my way of thinking, to name something is to confer a definition on it. Definitions like those in dictionaries, that is. They are essentially very static definitions in one way or another. For example, a cloud is allowed by its definition to take on many shapes, but once it condenses from water vapour into rain, it's no longer a cloud. Whereas a table's definition does require a particular shape. If you cut the legs off, it ceases to be a table. So names are a kind of straitjacket. Once we've consigned an object/concept/action to a named state, we expect certain behaviour from it, we expect it to have certain characteristics, and if it breaches these boundaries, then we consider it to be something else and give it a new name and a new set of expectations.

For the most part we (the West/indo-european speakers) imagine these objects (whether they be tangible things like a human, my cat, this apple, or intangible things like happiness or time) as something that can act, or be possessed, or that can have things done to them. These objects interact via actions of various qualities. The two objects in a particular interaction then continue as they were, unless the action so transformed them that they don't fit their names anymore. Further to this, once the action can be named, it becomes another object. Think of it like a flow chart. Whether a noun or a verb, it will consist of a name inside a box on the flowchart. To sum up, the focus is on the actor and the experiencer (patient) of the verb, rather than on the verb itself. Naturally the verb is important: in the sentence "the cat ate the mouse," there would be nothing to comment on if there was no eating. However the eating is seen as something the cat did, and that happened to the mouse. The focus is on what happened to the cat and the mouse and what the act of eating meant for them, rather than being on the act itself.

Now obviously I'm not an expert, I'm only an armchair linguist, and I'm basing my research purely on wikipedia (insert howls of derisive laughter here). Similarly, I'm making vast generalisations about languages of the americas that are differentiated into hundreds of language families. But here are my impressions and understandings of what seem to be widespread characteristics of american languages.

Whereas Indo-European relates to phenomena as objects in space, american languages (from Inuit to Aymara) seem to relate to phenomena as a series of flows. That sounds a little vague and fuzzy, but I believe it essentially relates to a focus on action and change, rather than a focus on static objects. To put it simply, the verb is more important than the noun.

This is evidenced by the sheer complexity of the verb in a lot of languages. They quite often can be conjugated to include information on subject/actor, object/patient, tense, mood, aspect, evidentiality, indirect object, direction, voice, and the manner in which a movement is made. There are probably other categories as well. Often nouns when they are directly expressed, are incorporated into the structure of the verb, resulting in those crazy long words which equate to entire english sentences, such as

adisbąąs "I'm starting to drive some kind of wheeled vehicle along" (Navajo)
tusaatsiarunnanngittualuujunga I can't hear very well. (Inuktitut)
ni-mit͡s-te:-t͡la-maki:-lti:-s I shall make somebody give something to you (Nahuatl, i.e. aztec)

Another aspect of this focus on the verb is the way many nouns are created from verbs in a language such as Inuktitut. In english we have a similar concept, in that a person who builds houses is known as a builder, and someone who paints is known as a painter. We do change the shape of the word: "He builds" is a different set of words to 'builder' though they are related. In inuktitut, the word "ilisaijuq" is both a verb, meaning 'he studies,' and a noun meaning 'student.' Since if we state about someone 'he studies,' we know he is a student, at least during the time that he is studying. But once again here, the focus is moved away from who 'he' is, to what he's doing. Rather than being given a name as such, it is merely stated what he is doing. The implication is that what he is doing is more important than what he is.

With this conceptualisation taken to its logical conclusion, everything becomes a series of actions or flows. Compare these Inuktitut sentences to their english equivalents.

Qannirmat qainngittunga = because it is snowing, i am not coming.

In the inuktitut, the whole concept is expressed with two words. They are both inflected verbs. The first verb is built around snowing, with suffixes for 4th person and causation, and the second verb is built around 'coming' with suffixes for negation and first person. Whereas in english, we are so focused on the object performing the action, that even where isn't something performing the action, we invent one! (i.e. snowing is purely a process/flow, no one is performing it, but english requires a dummy subject 'it').

I've been grappling with the distinction between the two conceptual metaphors for a while now, but reading one thing in particular crystalised it for me. I was reading the featured wikipedia article on 'the history of evolutionary' thought. It was discussing ancient greek, arabic, and chinese concepts of evolution, and pointed out the platonic and later the christian concepts of evolution, which was that species were a static category and that an animal couldn't diverge from that 'type.' It reminded me of the way we name things in western languages. For the most part, we expect something with a name to continue to be that thing indefinitely, and are then surprised when it changes. It seemed to me that it was reflective of our whole attitude as a civilisation. We build stone monuments and expect them to last forever. Parents get sad as children grow up and are no longer children. We try to fight off death long after the fight becomes futile. We understand protecting nature as trying to restore it to an unchanging 'perfect' state rather than learning to cohabit with it. Without wanting to stray too much into theology, the catholic church seems particularly caught up in this worldview. It talks so much of eternity. It acts as though the ending of old relationships and the beginning of new ones is unnatural. It sees itself as an institution which will continue til the end of time.

I can't help but wonder if all of this is reflective of our view of the world as static objects in space, with time merely a fourth spatial direction. Whereas if everything as seen as flowing, in action, moving, it's reflective of the very true concept that everything is in flux at all times, and that the only constant is change. I wonder does seeing the world like that make change easier to deal with?
 
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(no subject)  
11:16am 13/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
I got a twitter account so that I could see what it's all about. Because the website basically told me nothing prior to signing in. Turns out that although most people are using it to notify their friends that they just successfully took a dump, or fell over, or had a thought about a potato, there are other uses. I set mine up to basically be an RSS feed of the drivel my political leaders are sending me. So now I'm watching a debate in parliament because the Ruddbot's twitter told me that parliament was in session. Neato.

It's still raining, and Othercat isn't impressed.
 
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(no subject)  
10:06pm 12/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
I just finally downloaded 'Further Down the Spiral,' a remix of Nine Inch Nails' 'Downward Spiral.'

The song 'The art of self-destruction part 1' is like listening to an orgasm in slow-motion.
 
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(no subject)  
12:19am 12/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
Dear diary,

Today I memorised the present tense of the 3rd and 4th conjugation, and the -i stem of the 3rd declension. I've never felt more able to converse cum civibus romae....(with roman citizens).

I also bought a drizabone. It's black, and sexy.
 
    Things you can do: See those 8 who have spoken - Speak! - Share - Link
 
(no subject)  
10:21am 10/02/2009
 
 
Subtly subversive...
It's a really depressing feeling to be sitting here in the gentle Sydney rain when that rain is needed so desperately down in Victoria...

Send it their way, Raiden! But without the lightning...
I feel like: annoyedannoyed
 
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