December 2, 2004

Questions and Answers

It’s a new month, and you know what that means!

New search results, of course! Since it’s late and I’m not sleeping and when I do sleep they’re weird and scary dreams, I’m gonna make this quick. I’ve made good progress in Doom 3 and I’m now in Hell, so when I sleep I have nightmares that I’m in Hell.

What’s my personal hell look like? I’m chained to a desk in front of a computer, forced to write the code that maintains the entire universe. If I stop coding I get whipped by a demon. If I stop coding our galaxy disappears, and with it Altoids and Whack-A-Mole and bears that juggle chainsaws. Our very existence depends, quite literally, on the personal hell of myself and others, who are forced to code the entire universe for the rest of eternity.

Anyways. I’m tired and sleeping weirdly, so it’s time for a Q&A session with this month’s search terms! Search will provide the question, and I will provide the answer.

monster trucks?


hood river jack’s?

Best karaoke bar in the world, with tinfoil wallpaper and large buckets of alcohol for a sawbuck. They will give you as many three-foot straws as you need.


Super-Cooled Guinness.

pak chooie unf?

Go stand by the stairs.

peasants quest walk thr?

Walk thr? Oh, you must mean the Walk Throttle™. Walk Throttle™ is the next cool thing that’s gonna kick Segway’s ass. Think of a 200 hp Razor scooter with ear-splitting pipes and ape hanger handlebars.

peasants quest walk thru?

That was, like, so three months ago.

16.7 megapixel camera?

I’ve got five of them. And none for you.

cru jones?

The star of the best 80’s movie ever, Rad.

…well, Transformers: The Movie kicked ass, too. Optimus Prime got the living robotic snot beat out of him for, like, fifteen minutes.

fashion winter show?

Wuda Wooch! hosts these every year. Strangely, a city-wide shortage of zuchinni always follows.

iona beach?

That’s Iona’s Beach, and it has the most beautiful parking lot of the entire North Shore.

lester park in duluth?

Three-legged races dominated. Bug jumped off a waterfall for a can of Red Bull.


My Tempo lost it. Completely.

smoke detector?

We’ve been through this.

tips peasant’s quest?

I should put out a jar, covered with colorful swirls and a funky typeface.

an inquiry into human understanding?

David Hume just plain rocks.

animated lights for x-mas?

I still need to get the grazing deer, and the slaughtered deer, and the string of five million red lights. I still need to give nightmares to the neighborhood kids.

bios checksum error?

Sucks, doesn’t it? I bought a new motherboard and a chainsaw. Problem solved.

bios checksum problem?

It’s not a problem, it’s a feature.

bizziness letter?

Mixxed Bizziness.


Yup. It is.

daler mehndi coming to minneapolis minnesota?

If this is true, or was true, I am truly jealous.

dane petersen?

I just spoke to him today. He’s doing well.


We try to be.

got hypnotized?


got hypnotized last night?

Well, that all depends on the night.

hood river restaraunt?

I’d recommend Brian’s Pourhouse, or Sixth Street Bistro, or Thai Winds, or Horsefeathers, or the Copper Salmon.

I’d also recommend spelling lessons.

jack’s scorpion bowls?

You pay a bundle for them, you get them, you drink them, but you never remember them.


Yeah, I’m lichen it a lot.

mark machacek?

Ladies and gentlemen, Silent C himself.

nikki dane?

What are you insinuating?


I almost died in the attic. Now there was an adventure!

peter gibbons funk flex?

You should probably see a doctor for that one.

plastic makes it possible?

So does arson.


string cheese incident horning’s hideout?

Blew my freakin’ mind.

things you can only find in minnesota?

Minnesotans who haven’t moved yet.

torturing the sims picture of a clown?

Hey man, haven’t you been paying attention? We love clowns ’round here. Take your hate somewhere else.

tough guys?

Just one. But we’re so tough we’re often mistaken for two.

umd bullpub alcohol?

Everything you heard is probably a lie. Especially if you heard it here.

December 1, 2004

aesthetics northern lights hume

This search term absolutely stunned me for a moment. Here were three of my most favorite things in the world, aesthetics, the northern lights, and the philosophy of David Hume, spun together in an awkward search pattern whose actual meaning is altogether inconceivable.

For me, aesthetics do not merely imply visual appeal. Aesthetics soak into the very depths of human existence, emotion and passion. I revel in things that I find beautiful, but at the same time I am fascinated by things that I think may be good, but I am unable to comprehend. Above anything else I prefer the mental challenge of things that I cannot understand, and this scales into all facets of my life.

I love listening to the esoteric avant-garde jazz stylings of Happy Apple, which to the untrained ear (or even the schooled ear) sounds like a triad of mayhem. My recent trip to San Francisco, my first major excursion into a large city in many years, reminded me that I am simultaneously repulsed and attracted to the perfumed breath of big cities. I love open air and the outdoors, and will pick up just about any hobby that gives me an excuse to disappear into the woods. My love for both the city and the wilderness grow from a shared kernel. I live for the thrill of exploration, whether it is in the company of one or millions.

Aesthetics do not merely relate to good taste in the arts, but are a philosophy of life. It’s about absorbing your surroundings, trying to make sense of them, and then tossing yourself into completely new surroundings in order to comprehend those as well. It’s not an ideal, but a journey. Aesthetics are not an end, but a method.

I spent four years living in Duluth, and during those years my skin absorbed the aurora borealis many, many times. The most memorable experience was one early spring, upon our return from a week-long road trip to Zion. It was late and dark, and as we crested the hill and began our descent into the glimmering lights of Duluth, we looked to the sky and saw a spectacular display of the northern lights.

A full quarter of the sky was taken up with a glistening chandelier of light, morphing and pulsating its long white crystals in pace with the Earth’s magnetic field. We were finally wrapping up our 30 hour drive back from Utah, and the entire experience, from the natural light show to the bitter cold to the mental fatigue, was ethereal.

Now, David Hume, as I recall, didn’t write extensively on aesthetics or northern lights alike. Hume is known as the English philosopher who pushed empiricism and skepticism to its logical limit, and ultimately admitted that if empiricism is indeed the only way that we can come to know the world, that we must deny the existence of everything beyond our immediate perceptions. Hume was ruthless in his adherence to empiricism, refused to make concessions that previous empiricists were willing to make, and in so doing he proved that it was logically foolish to assume that empiricism was the source of all human knowledge.

However. While Hume was indeed willing to accept all the philosophical fallout that resulted from a strict adherence to empiricism, he was also a jovial fellow. While philosophy was indeed a great passion of his, he didn’t let his observations and conclusions pine away his existence. Nay, Hume was known to have partied it up with Ben Franklin of all sorts, frequent the local pubs, and pull the serving girls down into his lap. Hume freely admitted that he drew a line between his actual experience of the world, and what his philsophies told him. I greatly admire the man both for his incredible work in the realm of philosophy, and his ability to keep on living in spite of his cynical (though indeed inevitable) conclusions. Hume’s consistency in empiricist philosophy was matched only by his remarkably human nature.

I’m not sure what all this means, but I am certain of one thing. If in six months I am still working as a full-time web designer, with no end game in view, I will be seriously troubled. Self-reflection has revealed to me that I got into web design not as an end, but as a means to another end. There are far more things on this wide blue Earth that I enjoy more than web design, kiteboarding and snowboarding being a few of them, and writing another. Writing was the catalyst that led to web design in the first place, and I wouldn’t mind getting back into it.

Web design has gone limp for me. I need to experience fresh challenges, and this path is beginning to feel dangerously like one of inevitability. It is time that I pause to reflect, and remind myself that I am not a man of inevitability.