Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kayaks Suck

Today we picked up pork sandwiches and corn on the cob from Paseo then headed down to the water to eat. We discussed the merits of canoes versus kayaks, and I maintain that a canoe is superior.

On the way to and from lunch we armchair navigated through the twisty maze of streets just East of the North end of the University Bridge.

Oh, I also let an eleven month old pug chew on my hand while attempting to photograph him. You’d get one of these super-cute pictures, but I left my camera’s USB cable at home after uploading pictures from the injury-free rollover in my neighborhood last night.

On a bratwurst roll

Lunch today was paid by Bob
Whom Fortuna of late seems oft to rob.

Topics of war went ‘round our table
To make a clear point, none were able

(Except maybe Todd, by reading The Stranger—
Silence may be the best shelter from danger).

Moral relativism means wishy-washy.
At least that’s what I got from Joshy.

When asked whose argument seemed to lose
It seemed quite easy for them to choose.

I may not have a very convincing way
But at least I didn’t have to pay… today.

On Consciousness

Talk today turned to the rather astonishing fact that humans (or animated meat, as we were referring to them) seem to have consciousness. How is that possible, and if possible (and we all agreed it does seem possible), why couldn’t other meat (or, because we are all computer dorks, machines) be animated with consciousness.

The first clue that nobody really knows anything about this topic is that there isn’t even a settled spelling of the subject. We have the “conscious” mind and we have our “conscience” and both refer to the same thing, right? Or do they? In practice, the former is used to describe our self aware mental state, the latter, the virtual organ we credit with moral judgement. But these are the same right? Etymologically, we are looking at words with the same roots, and interestingly, they talk about common knowledge – con scientia – that is “knowing with”.

Explaining how consciousness could exist seems simple until you try. Is consciousness a fundamental aspect of reality – some basic element of life – or does the existence of consciousness depend on other non-conscious elements be they physical, biological, computational, or neural. If you go with the latter – where does the spark come from that turns the ingredients “on” and why couldn’t we reproduce that process to animate some other collection of parts. If you go with the former, prepare to get called a hippy by your co-workers.

Anyway, Todd helped Bob break his losing streak yesterday, and paid for our Thai food. Bob managed to break our blogging streak by going passive aggressive and refusing to pick anyone to write the last blog post – let’s hope we don’t have any more of that. Such emotional robots!

So many spices on the tofu that you can no longer find the tofu

My morning goal adoption of understand my emotions lead to a discussion of the concept of “self”. Which is how the rambling entry title, “so many spices on the tofu that you can no longer find the tofu” came to be. That was blurted out when I agreed with Josh that the idea of a totally independent self is a mostly flawed western concept. Sure, there’s a self (we’re all born separate bits of tofu) but by the time the competing spices of family, geography, language, culture and countless other influences are layered on, it’s impossible to separate out the self. Tofu may taste like tofu in general, but it also takes on the flavors of it’s surroundings. I am Daniel tofu hot dog.

If the self is tofu then perhaps emotions are condiments. Relish them. And don’t repress your emotions or it’ll eventually ketchup with you. Just soy you know, I’m part German. When I’m grumpy people call me a saurkraut. You’re probably thinking, “Daniel mustard lost his mind”. Maybe. Mayo-be not!

Guilty conscience

In a convoluted loss today, I won the first round of CCR but managed to lose the second one. Why two rounds? Well someone else can explain. So why am I blogging? I said the loser was “the one with the guilty conscience”.

We’ll see who else shows up.

Where’s your favorite place to eat?

This post almost never came to be. The decision of where to eat lunch turned out to be one of the most divisive yet. Unable to come to a generally accepted suggestion, we strayed uncomfortable long into the lunchtime hour. As the pangs of hunger became almost too much to bear we finally departed to separate destinations. Some last minute negotiations, however, brought four of us together to Cafe Septieme. Dr. Brain was the last holdout, enjoying instead a tasty burrito on his own at Tacos Guaymas.

The focus of the lunch conversation today was favorite places to eat. Josh recounted his disappointment with date night at Cremant. The food was, by his own account, excellent but the service and atmosphere seemed a bit off.

What is it about a restaurant that encourages you to return time and time again. Is it the quality of the food, the variety of the menu, the familiarity of the staff, the type of clientele seated next to you, or the prices of the dishes? Can you look forward to going to a restaurant that consistently delivers lower quality food? Do you find yourself resisting attempts to visit a restaurant even if you know the food will be well prepared and delicious?

Daniel asked me for my favorite restaurant and I didn’t have a ready answer. I didn’t even have an unready answer. I suppose I’m more of a utilitarian eater. Go in, eat food, and get out. I rarely go to fancier restaurants. Sometimes I think this is because I tend to eat alone and the time between when the order is taken and the meal arrives can be uncomfortably awkward without the diversion of talking with friends.

Even more casual restaurants aren’t necessarily any better. The Robot favorite Baguette Box doesn’t hold much fascination for me. It’s small, the seating is relatively uncomfortable, and let’s face it, after all it’s just a sandwich. Todd reeled in disgust at this outrage, but truthfully, I think I actually prefer the less pretentious sandwiches at The Honey Hole. This drew even more shock from Todd. “That’s one of the most wrong things you could ever say” was his only response.

I actually enjoy the quick service and mostly ordinary (although some might argue in actuality rather bad) food of the typical take away fast food from your average food court at the local mall. When I need a bite to eat on my way home from work, I would much rather grab some phad thai or chicken curry at Westlake Center than fancier fare at El Greco or La Spiga.

So where do you like to eat?


Oh, yes, and we also continued the discussion of whether money can make you happy. If happiness is eating at fine (and usually very expensive) restaurants, then maybe yes it can….

The Good News

The Good News, is, I didn’t lose at Credit Card Roulette today. The bad news is, I do have to type up some summary of what we talked about, because Erik picked me. It was not a very punk conversation (though I did manage to pull Daniel back into that topic on our morning coffee run). Instead, we found ourselves talking about the main navigational issue Jason is in town to help us tackle – how to get around the 5 profile pages on the 5 sites we run.

This, of course, turned into a religious discussion. Before long, we were speaking in terms of the godhead as a similar sort of each individually and the whole greater than the parts sort of thing. Turns out, by the way, that our table had 3 atheists, 3 believers, and 1 agnostic. I asked the non-believers if they had ever had a religious experience, and they all had (well Ivan’s might not have been religious, but it sounded, well, awesome at least). Yet they didn’t make the leap to seeing this as something indicative of a larger realm of human experience than anything we might know simply through science, or something brought on by taking drugs.

Of course, much chatter about quantum physics, sun dresses, peeping tom behavior, and movies ensued. I think we all agreed that we have our own beliefs, which matter, even if they are not beliefs about belief, and only matter.

At the end of lunch, Argentina and the Netherlands were still tied 0 – 0, with about 20 minutes to go in regulation time.

Return of cheers for subscriptions

So we just squeezed this fix in before we had to all head to the pub. More excitement tomorrow!

Return of the subscriber count

We got the subscriber count back on your profile and your subscriptions page. Now we are trying to get all the subscribers resync’d (so that the count is accurate). This has a few new kinks that are making some old entries show us like they are new, but it is a one time thing (and might be fixed by the time you read this).

The good news is we’ve had the site up most of the day with a lot fewer errors. Thanks for rolling with the punches 43folks.

Speaks for itself

43 Things Entry of the Day

139 people want to Help test the next new thing from The Robot Co-op

It’s, um, rad., an entry by