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Christmas Stuff

Sunday, 4. December 2005 13:25

Lauren and I are making Gingerbread houses today; we’ll get pictures of them up (with the rest of a semi-christmassy apartment) once they are complete! Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Pictures are available here: Christmas Pictures; the gingerbread houses aren’t quite done yet, but should be completed next week (we got very tired and ran out of icing besides); Lauren is giving me a run for my money as far as ambitious gingerbread house plans go; her tudor cottage is perhaps as ambitious as my stately collumned manor house of years past (this year I went simple). More to come at later dates.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 24. November 2005 20:50

Not much to say, except that I am STUFFED: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, biscuits, pumpkin pie, wine, tequilla, and probably more things that I can’t remember lead to a very very full Charles. Like even more full than after the Hot Dog Rollup full. But… anyways.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone; hope everyone’s had a good and fun and filling holiday!

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More Aparment Pictures!

Sunday, 30. October 2005 10:25

Hah! I really do have more pictures, and wasn’t lying when I said in my previous post that I would get them up here. Granted, it did take some time… but, anyways, a few pictures of my apartment bedroom (as always, hold your mouse over the pictures for captions, and click on them for bigger images).

A view of the bedroom roughly from the entrance

A similar view, more of the desk.

The bookcases and books that overlook my bed.

And some of my bathroom, though you can’t really see that much (a wider angle lense is needed, which I currently don’t have, or at least better angles, which I didn’t find)

Shower Curtain.

Towels.

And, finally, a bit of handiwork. I wanted to get a way to have cable and internet (coax cables and rj45 cables) going between my bedroom and the living room, but I didn’t want to just drill a hole in the wall and leave it at that. So I put in wall plates and did a little bit of wiring, leading to this, which, (except for the silver screws, which can be painted over) looks like it belongs (see the power plugs to the right, which were already there).

Cable and Internet. And they both work!

OK. That’s all for now. More later, probably, as art is gradually added to the walls.

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A Poster

Tuesday, 25. October 2005 20:39

As you can tell from my previous post, I am in need of artwork for my walls. Here is a poster that I thought was absolutely hilarious that the Library of Congress is selling:

LIBRARIES - for those who love... books.

Category:Journal, Miscillaneous Things | Comments (2) | Author:

Some Apartment Pictures, and Promises of More Posts!

Sunday, 23. October 2005 23:54

I know, I know. It’s been FAR too long since an update. I’ve been pretty busy with work (fun and enjoyable work, but it keeps me busy) At any rate, I’m finally putting up some pictures of my apartment. Right now they’re just of the kitchen and living room, because the bedroom is a mess. But they’re something. So enjoy. Whenever I get free time again, the bedroom will be picked up and pictures will be taken of it.

Also, note the conspicuous lack of any and all artwork on the walls. This is something that will have to be rectified over the coming weeks. Again, as time and energy permit.

The kitchen

The view from the kitchen

The view roughly from the entryway

My kitchen table (it expands! More pictures of this later)

Couch, table, chair. And some unpacked boxes.

TV, DVDs, and small bookcases. I still need to unpack CDs and such into the TV stand.

So… yeah. Still more to do, and more pictures to take. Including pictures of the bathroom and bedroom (where the impressive bookcases lie). For another time, I’m afraid. For now, it’s off to bed for me.

But, one last picture – pre-dinner snacks from tonight: cheese (cheddar, gouda with various spices in it, and a cheddar log), summer sausage, crackers, and wine. Quite tasty!

Snacks!

And, for now, goodnight. More posts to come (probably also about my job in addition to more pictures) in the future, I promise!

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Work and Living

Tuesday, 4. October 2005 16:32

This is a very long overdue post, but I’ve been rather busy. I’ll make a longer one later (in one or two days) with more details, but an update on my situation would possibly timely. I’ve taken a job at LA City Hall which will start on the 17th, and I have just found and put a deposit down on an apartment about 2 or 3 miles away. So it’ll be a whiz-bang fast upcoming two weeks, full of furniture getting and packing and unpacking and transporting and etc ad infinitum. And then… time for more posts, probably!

And there will be interim posts too.

Side note – er… just got a call from a friend and in the process of speaking with him completely forgot what this side note was supposed to be! So… when I remember it, maybe I will post it. I don’t know.

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The Hot Dog Rollup

Wednesday, 14. September 2005 11:25

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a link to possibly the most disgustingly good looking recipe ever – the hot dog rollup. To say the least, I was intrigued. Could I survive it? Was it as good as it looked (er… it didn’t really LOOK all that good, but the concept was terrific!)? Was it doable?

Well, yesterday I set out to answer those questions, and I have photographic findings (though there are very few ‘making of’ pictures due to extraordinarilly greasy hands and someone else using the camera for legitimate purposes). Here are the results (hold your mouse over the pictures for captions/comments; click on the pictures for a bigger picture of the same):

The supplies:

not much to see yet...

The first step, wrapping the hotdog in bacon, was relatively easy:

A hotdog. Wrapped in bacon.

That went on the grill at about the same time I lost the camera. So the next step was getting the ground beef all mashed out and ready (you really only need 1 egg, not the two that the original recipe suggests; in fact… two eggs makes things difficult – the ground beef/egg mixture becomes more liquid than maleable solid; I saved the day by pretty much straining out the egg/beef mixture by squeezing it so that the egg dripped off and then with reenforcements of non-egged beef).

Once that was done, wrapping the hotdog in it wasn’t TOO hard, though it required a gentle touch. That same touch was required in getting it on the grill and ‘flipping’/rolling it once on the grill. And a good deal of pressure/reenforcing via hamburger flipper helped it to keep its shape and not breakup on the grill once it was placed there.

So, in any case, the grill shots! (I made a mini-hamburger (which was split up and given to the dogs) with the leftover ground beef):

On the grill. It's being propped up by the miniburger.

Another grill shot. You can see the bun I'm grilling on the bottom.

Our final grill shot.

The next step was getting it in the bun (pre condiments) And there are pictures, of course. Note how the hot dog rollup DWARFS the poor little bun!:

In the bun. And miniburger!

An angled shot so that you can appreciate the monstrosity of this thing!

Next up, adding condiments (mustard) and posing for more pictures!

Added mustard

More mustard!

The triumphant chef:

My god this thing is huge!

I am so proud of myself! (and dressed nicely because I had just gotten back from a job fair. If you hire me, I will make these for you!)

And now for the first bite!!!

Holy crap! I don't think I can open my mouth wide enough!!!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!! So goooooooooooooood!

And now for the obligatory cross section shots (probably the most in-focus pictures of this type available anywhere on the net!):

Early Cross section - not that far into it yet.

A little bit further, a nd at an angle!

Further in,  dead on.

Does this not look like heaven??? SOSOSOSOSO GOOOOOOOD!!!!!!

———

And… that’s it. It was delicious. I still live, not even a minor heart attack. It was, however, VERY filling. I think that should I ever attempt this again, I’ll use only one egg (as I previously said), more cheese (I used one-and-a-half slices of sharp cheddar cheese – it could have used more (some may have escaped during grilling, but cheese is good, and I want more of it!), and I’ll probably mix alot more spices into the ground beef. I can only imagine how good a peppercorn version of this would be! And, of course, better quality/better tasting hotdogs.

But, all told, a rousing success, and a gastronomic delight!

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Updates in the making?

Monday, 5. September 2005 16:23

Yes, I know, it’s been over a week since the last update. But… I’ve been busy. With stuff. And such. Lauren’s birthday, interview at city hall, more Lauren, taking care of dogs, cleaning house, etc. And now reading more things too (starting on Ignatieff’s biography of Isaiah Berlin and McMurty’s “Lonesome Dove”).

In all fairness, this site isn’t the only thing that has been neglected. So too has my project to catalogue all my books. Ah, well, c’est la vie. Both are due some attention soon. 😀

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Happy Birthday Lauren!

Sunday, 28. August 2005 0:01

That’s right, the lovely, lovable, and alltogether wonderful Lauren has just turned 21!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

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my.ucla forums: Then and Now

Friday, 26. August 2005 16:29

One of my posts from 2 years ago when I was first posting:

——Original Message——

On 7/26/2003 9:25:00 PM, lus|V said:
As for “our current system”

Ok. Maybe I’m the only one reading up on how the service industry is will account for 70% percent of the average occupations. Maybe I’m the only one reading about how a college degree are not adequate enough to find a job to live above the margin of poverty nowadays. The problem with your argument is your definition of fair. For example, if you ask someone from an elite class, they will say that our current is system is more than fair. If you ask someone on the bottom echelon, where most individuals including college grads are headed, will inform you, that is not fair.

Historically, you’re correct, but you only stated that in you were using an historical precedent in your previous post. For you to say that any form of communism that will exist in the future will be unfair in contrast to our current system is simply missing the point that Marx was trying to make. A valid argument is that Marxism has not yet occurred. So whatever your idea of the real world is, since by nature our perceptions are biased to our surroundings, is IMPOSSIBLE to contrast to Communism as Marx had intended it.


i’ve thought about it and i agree with myself

——End of Original Message——

Hmmm… I am not too familiar with the statistics you cite – could you give your sources for these figures (It’s not that I don’t believe you; I’m just curious to find more information on this)? In any case, I’m reasonably certain that Marx would have found a service industry job far less dehumanizing than an industrial/production job, since you bring this up. But as for myself, not being born of “rich blood” and a future college grad that will have a degree in something that’s not exactly incredibly practical, I would say that the system is more fair than not. I may be in the minority here, but that’s my position.

But if we cannot use historical precedent to settle this discussion (though I would imagine that history itself should have some say in this issue: keep in mind, Marx himself makes use of historical examples quite frequently), perhaps we should delve into Marx himself. I’ll go through what I’ve found to be some of the main points of Marx, and say if I see him to be right on or off the mark. Feel free to dispute my claims.

First, I think we should note that Marx was incredibly influenced by Hegel in his writing, and Hegel’s works seem to mostly concern themselves with the unending problem of conflict. Marx’s communism, at least to me, seemed a way to break the cycle of struggle (ie the unrealized potential to transcend the master/slave dialectic would be realized in Marx’s communism). This requires a belief in Hegel’s notion of unending struggle, which I am not quite willing to grant. I’m not sure that Hegel was all right (perhaps this is because I’ve found Hegel to be nearly incomprehensible, and need to go back and reread a great deal of what he has said, though I imagine that I would still have some reservations). My point here being that if your foundation is faulty, one must question what one builds on top of that foundation all the more critically.

But on to Marx himself. Marx is obviously greatly concerned with alienation. Much of his conception of alienation comes from the idea that humans have the ability to create their own “needs of life” – that is, man can create his own food, shelter, etc. He then says that when a person’s ‘creation’ is taken away from him or her, his or her work loses value, and, as a result, man becomes dehumanized and alienated from his labor. This alienation relies upon the conditions that what a man makes is taken from him and its profit is taken from him; by these actions he becomes alienated from the production process.

To this, I ask, why is it the case that a person’s labor loses value when he doesn’t keep the end result? I myself believe that when you work (be it in a factory, an office, a restaurant, whatever), you trade your labor for money, which you then trade for the products of another person’s labor. Your labor doesn’t lose any value. In fact, it may gain value, as the money you are paid for work that would otherwise lead to an end product does not spoil, as the end product likely would (the apple picker is paid money which he can use to buy apples for a year, though if he were to pick a year’s worth of apples, many of them would go bad before he could eat them all). When I work, I’m don’t feel dehumanized or alienated – I feel quite the contrary, especially when I pick up a paycheck at the end of the month. Besides, even if this weren’t the case, Marx says that man can create that which he needs; man has no need to enter into the capitalist system if doesn’t want to. He can ‘pull a Thoreau’ and go live off in the woods and subside on his own labor if he chooses (I can’t say I know how well this will turn out – does anyone know what happened to all the hippie communes of the 60s?)

But let us not forget how very awed and impressed Marx actually is by the capitalism of his day. He recognized its incredible efficiency of production and the huge quantities of [insert any commodity here] capitalism could produce. In fact, capitalism was NECESSARY for Marx’s proletariat revolution to occur, as it ‘makes clear’ the distinction between the upper and lower classes and allows the lower classes to unite (I believe he said “The Bourgeoisie create their own grave-diggers.”). But, we run into problems when we consider Marx’s ideas in today’s world. When he was writing there [i]were[/i] two very distinct classes that were often very antagonistic towards each other. Today we have a sizable middle class that essentially stabilizes the situation and can show the lower classes that members of them could move up into the middle class and have a decent life. Further, Marx was writing during an industrial age (in which conditions certainly were very deplorable); we (at least in our nation) are in a post-industrial age. Your reference to service jobs is actually quite apt here: how are we alienated from our labor if our labor isn’t out to create any physical thing? In fact, if a service oriented job is to provide service, you see the very result of your labor, it’s not taken from you as it would be from a factory worker.

Besides, we could perhaps even say that we have, in some ways, met Marx half way: in the Communist Manifesto he argued for, among other things, a graduated income tax (which we now have), free education (which we now have), an end to child labor (again, we’ve met him here), among other things. But of one of his fundamental points, that private property and money, are the source of all our problems (after all, these create class), I am uncertain. I rather think that people will always find something to disagree on, be it property or not (in this sense I am accepting the Hegelian notion of struggle, and suggesting that the elimination of property will not end the cyclical nature). Besides, I don’t think that you can eliminate the conception of private property. Perhaps this is because I am too grounded in the here and now, but I don’t see it happening, ever.

So maybe it would be nice if we could all work for a few hours in the morning, go fish in the afternoon, and go to the opera in the evening. But the thing is that while class still exists, it exists far less than it did in Marx’s day. And even if everything else he said was correct, which I do not grant him, without the very definite division of classes, you’re not going to have a huge group of proletariats to unite and take over. Besides, the dictatorship of the proletariat, were it to ever happen, sounds frightfully perilous – what does the proletariat know about running a government and then gradually letting it fade away? Now I generally like the “common man,” as I believe the term back then was, but I’m not sure if I want him running everything. I’m enough of a fan of specialization to like the idea of someone who knows what he or she is doing to be running things. Perhaps I am wrong here, but even this seems like a moot point.

But as I don’t much agree with Marx’s conception of the alienation of labor, especially not in today’s world (which you perhaps rightly suggest we cannot get ourselves out of), it follows that I don’t think his property-less and Marxist society would be as fair as ours, as our society does allow one to climb up the economic ladder (the ladder that would not exist under a Marxist state), and while I love equality of opportunity, I’m not that much of a fan of equality of everything else. At least the opportunity for an exceptional person to rise to the top exists under capitalism. In Marxism, while there is no dreaded bottom, there is also no wonderful top, and regardless of where I am under capitalism, I’m always going to want that top to strive towards.

PS – you said, “i’ll respond to your posts later tonight or tomorrow since I gotta handle some shit.” I hope that all is well and that there’s no serious trouble confronting you. Best of luck regardless.

PPS – I apologize for the length of this post. Sometimes I can’t help myself 😀

———

A post from approximately a year ago:

Methinks that Heather here just wants to play devil’s advocate 😛 Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. But, on to Prop 54!

I have my little ‘voter’s pamphlet’ right here, and Prop 54 “prohibits state and local governments from classifying any person by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Various exemptions apply. Fiscal Impact: The measure would not result in a significant fiscal impact on state and local governments.” Nothing sounds too bad in that description, nor does anything sound all that bad in the actual proposition itself.

The line between supporting or fighting prop 54, though, is likely to be determined by how far one thinks that California has progressed passed racism and how far it has progressed towards at least some ‘equality of opportunity.’ If racism still exists to some extent (as another post earlier said [I’m paraphrasing here] “It’s different when your sitting across the table from the person in an interview.”), then obviously the passing of prop 54 would lead to the elimination of protections for various racial groups.

If, however, California as a whole has become more ‘cosmopolitan,’ accepting (or just apathetic) towards race as a whole, to the point where ‘sitting across the table from a person in an interview’ really [i]isn’t[i] different than anything else, then this proposition makes perfect sense. If we are living without racism already, why do we need the (possibly harmful) reminders that we were once a racist state and have moved past that? If we truly [i]have[/i] moved passed racism here in California, then keeping racial identities as part of information gathering, applications, etc very likely [i]would[/i] be more harmful than helpful.

Part of living in a so-called ‘color-blind’ society means giving up those devices which rely on color that brought progress. The crux of the matter here is when to eliminate those devices, or rather if we have reached a point that we safely can. As for myself, I support prop 54 – I truly think that, at least in California, racism is so much a non-issue compared to everything else that it’s time to ‘take the next step,’ so to speak. Though I can also understand the views of those who think that we’ve not yet reached the point where we could safely pass this proposition. I just don’t agree with them 😛

Your thoughts?

Cheers.

———

A post from today:

——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 3:21:00 PM, *CHERBERT* said:
——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 9:07:00 AM, the dude! said:
——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 7:59:00 AM, Madonna said:
can you say lawsuit? If she were to ever find out you took a picture of her ass at work and posted it on a message board for all to see, she could nail you for sexual harrassment? Not such a good idea, maybe you should just admire the butt and not say anything out loud.

——End of Original Message——

first, i work at an aerospace company in the valley. we make parts for military weapons systems and aircraft. woop woop.

second, she is not going to find shit. she is the cleaning lady. i dont think she has a ucla id number and can log on this forum.

third, i didnt post her face. my friend of a friend owns a site called mobileasses.com. its all camera pics of chicks asses. they are completely legal as long as they were snapped in public and dont have the girls face in them.

third, i am unfireable at work and she doesnt know what sexual harassment is anyways.


i like water based lubricants

——End of Original Message——

and plus the cleaning lady is proabably not even legal. i doubt she’s going to step into the i’ve been hurt spotlight only to be sent into the immigration spotlight.
i like being blunt from time to time.


I heart D&B Procrastination is like masturbation. It’s fun in the beginning, but in the end you’re only fucking yourself. You can’t rightfully comment or judge until you’ve *been* there -otherwise it’s merely speculation.

——End of Original Message——

How sad it is that we now live in a world where people are more concerned with what they can get away with without consequences than what’s actually the right thing to do in the first place.

——————————————————–

The Forums have gone downhill a great deal. 🙁

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