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Monday, June 29, 2009


So I've always had this...not really a dream, just a strong desire to do something very fun with a bunch of friends. I want to go paintballing. Now, I know what you're thinking...just go then, there are tons of places you can paintball or you can buy your equipment yourself and just go out into the woods and shoot 'em up. Well, yes, this is all true, but I have a vision of bigger things.

I went paintballing once and it was a great time. My complaints, naturally, was that while playing indoors, we still were forced to crawl around in mud and be surrounded by tires and fake was fun, but it was a very forced environment. And, of course it was, if you have group after group of paintballers coming through, you're going to want an environment that won't mind the constant barrage of new colors being splattered across the walls. That leads me to this conclusion...

I want to go paintballing in a hotel, or an office, or something of that nature...someplace clean and organized, and I want to shoot it up with a bunch of people. I say a bunch of people because it would be the only way to make it relevant and even then, you'd have to restrict yourself to a two or three story building. The way I see it, you get two teams - one offense and one defense. The defending team is required to hid a flag or some object somewhere in the building and then the attacking team comes in and tries to find it. You feeling me on this one? And the thing is, I can't imagine this would be too hard to accomplish for a group with a little bit of capital. Let's say a company is looking to sell off or demolish an old office building (I'm leaning towards office building because a hotel would be very difficult given all of the potential locked doors and hiding places whereas an office can be laid out in a much more random pattern), just ask to borrow it for one day before it's destruction. Either that, or just be a millionare and buy land and build your own I suppose, but that's a tad ridiculous and only relevent if you are an excentric billionare, like I someday hope to become...anyways, the point is - there can be no clean up step, it has to be shoot 'em up and then demolish. Who's in?

Michael Jackson

So I've been thinking long and hard in regards to my next post for my beloved, but often forgotten, Weekend Philosophers and I actually have a topic in mind (paintball), but in the meantime I think it would be appropriate, given my fascination with pop culture, to write up a quick something about the passing of Michael Jackson.

Most people in my generation know very little about the rise of Michael Jackson. We are familiar with the Jackson 5 and how he came out from the world of Motown, to become the King of Pop throughout the eighties, however our musical knowledge really starts coming together awhile after his decline was far too along for him to be considered a relevant part of our musical childhood. That being said, historically speaking, you cannot deny his influence on countless artists. Do you really think we would even care who Justin Timberlake was if it weren't for MJ paving that road twenty years ago?

The three albums that obviously stand-out in everyone's mind are Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad...all released before I was 2. There's a certain familiarity with any album or song released prior to my memories of music have an instant connection with things like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and it's hard to make the distinction if it's just great pop music (especially in the case of the Beatles and MJ) or if it's just familiarity with the music through the subconcious memories. I don't know, but I know that when I hear songs like Billie Jean, or Beat It and especially Smooth Criminal (one of my personal favorites), that you have this feeling of comfort and happiness that can only come from that kind of relationship with songs that you know and love. It's hard to explain, but the best of Michael falls into that category.

That being said, his musical decline was steep and surprising. The rise of hip-hop and grunge separated popular music and it wasn't until the late nineties that true pop music returned to prominense. I think it would have been hard to imagine, in 1987, that Bad would be the last of the great Jackson music (including Janet). Then, after he lost his musical popularity...or maybe before, it's hard to tell, Jackson started losing grip with reality.

It's hard for my generation to separate Jackson's musical legacy with his less shining moments in life. From the child molestation accusations, all of which ended in settlements, which in many minds are just admitting guilt, to naming a child Blanket and then holding him over a balcony of a hotel room with a pillow case over its head. I for one will do my best to remember Jackson for those three magical pop albums, as well as his time spent with the Jackson 5, producing some of the best motown records from the time period. I don't know how successful I'll be in that, as this superstar is one with an extremely tainted legacy. Future generations will probably never see his greatness, and that's a shame.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Tonight topic is on music -

When you listen to a new album from an artist you like, do you immediately compare what you are listening to to their past work or do you take it as a separate entity? That is to say, do you separate mentally the new album from the artist's past? Is it even possible to do so? Do you really think it's possible for your subconscience to make that disconnect where you know who it is and what they've done in the past?

In that same stream on conscienceness - are you able to listen to any music without making the connect to music on the historical level? Can you really listen to something without immediately attempting to connect it something more familiar? Do you try to put it in historical context?

I don't know - I got a few new CDs this past few weeks and they are all albums of artists I'm already familiar with and I find myself immediately comparing the new songs to the previous or original batch. And on a grander scale, I find myself comparing everything to the historical connects with each song I hear.

I hear a little U2 in this song, although it's really more of a late Smiths sound so perhaps that was a larger influence for them. I like this more than anything the Smiths did like this, more accessible.

Just some quick thoughts - Nathan out. Ta.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"I was working a flat tax proposal and accidentally proved there was no God."

I've talked about them before and I will promote them for nothing again, I was listening to the latest 'The Definitive Word' recently and they were talking about the apocalypse.

This is a good topic...or at least, I like I figured I'd carry over their conversation to you, faithful members, and we can discuss the two obvious questions associated with it.

First - how will the apocalypse come? Now I'm not talking about the Biblical end of days, and I'm not talking about complete global destruction (if science accidentally creates a black hole...then there's not a whole lot to discuss).

Second - what of the survivors?

There were four main candidates for our likely destruction discussed on TDW - nuclear warfare, asteroid, global warming - ice caps melting and all of the subsequent consequences therein, and finally the end of fossil fuels.

I think I'll start in the opposite direction because that's more of less the order in which I see them happening in a way that will impact human life as we know it (I think global warming is inevitable at this point, but the changes in climate and weather patterns will be more or less adjusted to over time with minimal loss to the structure of society in which we live...I guess I just discussed that one). I think it's unlikely that we'll run out of fossil fuels in the time frame prior to us being able to rely solely on alternative resources. Yes, we are not even close to being able to survive on solar, wind or any of the other renewable resources yet (fuel cells...), but we are close enough and we have enough finite resources at our disposal that while this may affect our lifestyles down the road, it will not be the collapse of society.

The final two are probably the most frightening. The fact is, Earth is pummeled by asteroids a lot more than we know about - this article, The Sky is Falling, is a good example of what we are up against in terms of asteroid strikes and the apparent lack of concern from the global community. Now I get it, it's not likely...but you know what - it's likely enough and it's something that we can somewhat do something about. We already can theorize on the destructive power of asteroids as it's still the generally accepted response to 'what killed the dinosaurs?' The asteroid also would have a catastrophic effect on our climate, assuming it strikes land (a 30% chance), the dust cloud created would be more than 1000 nukes and would probably stay afloat, blocking out the sun for years as far as we know. It would completely destroy all of civilization infrastructure and likely kill any chance of agriculture as well...then what? The survivors in this scenario have a very bleak future indeed.

Finally, nuclear warfare. Sadly, this is more likely every year given the increasingly aggressive personality of several nations. Depending on the magic number of 'how many' - society may or may not be completely obliterated, although an obvious chunk of what we know would be gone. This is the most popular in terms of books, movies and video games given the glamourization of warfare in Hollywood.

My point is, in a true apocalypse (at least in my mind), all lines of government will fall and mob rule will take place - on a global scale. I'm looking at a 50-75% death rate on initial impact. The survivors are few and far between, disease and in-fighting will kill an additional 15-20%. Then what? What chance does human life have given these events? Going with the asteroid theory, as it's my personal favorite, there will be limited to no electricity available, agriculture will be minimal, all resources will immediately become limited, etc... In order to cause true global chaos, the asteroid would need to create an EMP, knocking out all lines of communication globally, as well as take out a major city - just to prove a point. The shockwave would kill millions, if not billions more - from crumbling buildings to tidal waves - then the true horror starts...the dust cloud that blocks out the sun for most of the planet.

Anyways - what are your thoughts on how we're ending up on the wrong side of one of nature's tests?