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Dharma Beatdown: My winter vacation

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My winter vacation

Just returned from a week visiting with Kayla's fam down in the Paso/SLO area in California. A decent little break from the work grind, and great to have some time basically alone with my lovely wife and baby. A few things occurred to me through the week, and here they is.

Right before I left, I did karaoke with Tim, Robin, Sarah, and Edweird. It was a good night, and one of our previous haunts has come back better than before in wake of the smoking ban. The notable thing about this, apart from their acquisition of a sizeable number of Morrissey songs, is the fact that I managed to get semi-Rickrolled during karaoke. What? How is that even possible? Let me explain. I decided that in the wake of my Rick Astley halloween costume, I should try to do "Never Gonna Give You Up" at karaoke someday. So, I put it up that night as my very last song. Karaoke was about over, and I had two songs up, that one and "Ride On" by AC/DC. "Ride On" should have been the last song the way the timing went, so when I got called up for the last time, I was expecting that. The kj told me she loved the song when she was a kid, and she seemed like a rocker type, then...

We had a lot of down time in Cali. This was more of a family visit trip, and of course Amelia is just a wee baby. It's important to read to little children, and not just board books and Dick and Jane horseshit. So while we were there I was reading Richard Dawkins to her. As I was reading the chapter on computer-simulated life in "The Blind Watchmaker" I realized something. Not only is he probably one of the most important people in science and philosophy, but he's a cool motherfucker. There's a perception that Dawkins is a douchebag, perhaps because he is so tenacious when it comes to the religion issue, but that perception is not really based on anything. I've talked to him before. I called in to the Infidel Guy show years back when he was on, and while I knew who he was then, in the sense of him being an influential evolutionary biologist, I didn't know that this was the godfather of fucking meme theory. He just sounded like a cool dude. Dawkins and Reg were discussing atheism and evolution, and I had a legit question about using current advances in artificial life simulacra as a philosophical stepping stone to breaking the ice with our less enlightened creationist friends. Dawkins was a complete gentleman and discussed it with me. He didn't say "Hey, I wrote some of those programs, there's a whole chapter devoted to it in my book which you can buy on Amazon!" So kudos to you sir.

I also finished "Last Call" by Tim Powers. I was going to comment on that but have decided to devote a seperate entry to that, because it's a bigger literary issue, entitled 'What the fuck is wrong with Tim Powers?'

We had dinner with Kayla's cousin in SLO, a fun little college town during the height of its farmer's market. This was my only small world moment of the whole trip. I've been a fan of Michael Helm's photography for a while, since I've seen him featured on DA. So, it was pretty easy for me to notice that fetish model Natalie Addams, a favorite of his, was sitting a couple tables across from us. What's that, you say? Of course I didn't say anything? That would be gauche! I didn't say anything to Wallace Shawn when I ran into him in downtown PDX... just gave him a dignified nod. And for that I received a saucy wink.


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