Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

Monthly Archives: February 2006

Note to self (and decendants)

Wolfang Puck’s canned soup beats the hell out Campbell’s Select and Progresso.

He sleeps with both their wives at the same time. And they know about it and they still can’t do anything about it.

That’s how good he is.

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So after peaking at a 102 temperature last night, I am notably better tonight, registering only 99. That’s more or less normal. And most importantly, I feel better. If I don’t pay too close attention, I’d say I feel all better. But then I still get a stabbing head pain each time I cough, which happens pretty often: whenever I breath the least bit too deeply. So I still feel terrible, but it’s all relative: this is a wonderful terrible compared to last night’s terrible.

Mulling over whether I should go to work tomorrow… there’s a board meeting and I’m supposed to talk. If I still feel like this then it might be better if I don’t. We’ll see what another night of sleep does for me, I suppose.

About the only task I had the capacity for today was installing Final Cut Studio on my laptop. I’m a big fan of using the cheapest, simplest tool for the job. But I tried editing my latest video project on iMovie, and it just wasn’t letting me do the stuff I wanted to do. So I decided it was time to upgrade to the big league. Hopefully now I can wrap up this “latest” video project. Heh. “Latest”. I shot the footage for it in 2002. Then I didn’t touch it until last month. That’s pretty late.

Oh: and I know what my next project is. But I can only do it if I hire the right talent. I’ve put in a request…

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Wow, I haven’t been meaningfully sick in a long time. But yesterday I started up with a major headache, and now I’m just cowering in bed with a fever and just feeling like crap. My eyeballs feel like they have too much fluid in them. They might pop any second like waterballoons. Too delirious to do anything useful, too achy to sleep. Bah. And I’ve been taking good care of myself recently, too.

To pass the time this morning I read all about different painkillers on Wikipedia. I should probably try a few of those about now.

And this afternoon I watched Talk To Her, which I liked. Strangely my favorite bits were the art-within-the-story bits… the opening and closing ballet, and the silent movie. Overall an excellent bit of storytelling and filmmaking. I should probably watch it again sometime when I’m not delerious, though.

Canned chili for lunch. That’s all the energy I could muster. Bleh.

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La la la

So I went to LA last weekend… drove out in my little Prius, which gets about 42MPG on a trip like that. First I visted my friend Eva, who lives downtown these days. We had some groovy tamales, hit the dollar store, and picked up some excellent fresh sliced mango from a street vendor. I’m not that familiar with LA, but MacArthur park seems quite nice. Then I met her boyfriend and we took turns making fun of her. She’s a good sport.

After that I went to hang with Sophie and her family for Hogan’s first birthday… which is a super-big deal in Korean culture. Like a wedding or something. People came from all over the country, and they rented a big hall and had it catered and all that. The little kid has to choose from a bunch of stuff… a piece of yarn, a pencil, paper money… and whichever thing they choose is their fortune; long life, intelligence, riches, respectively. There may have been some other stuff but I forget. Anyways, he chose the money. Good call. Take the money kid. Long life and intelligence are overrated. Nice party, though.

Saw Brokeback Mountain with Sophie… good stuff. Heath Ledger deserves something for that. Something other than getting beat up by homophobes. Maybe an Oscar or something. Then we hit Claim Jumper for old time’s sake.

Then I cruised on back to Vegas. It’s just a little over a three hour drive. Which goes fast when I’m chatting on the phone with my Dad the whole way!

A good weekend. This weekend I’m going to try to do some responsible stuff instead. We’ll see if that goes as well.

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Intelligent Design

So a devout Christian family member sent me this article about Intelligent Design this morning. I wrote back the following, which I thought I’d post because I think it sums up my thoughts well.

My first thought is just to say that as a secularist, I live up to one of the highest moral codes of anyone I know. And this is true of most secular people — as a group I would say that secular people usually live to higher than average moral standards. And I would also refer to mankind’s bloody religious history to show that answering to a god does not keep most people from doing terrible things. So the claim that secular science is afraid of having to answer to a high moral authority (from their second paragraph) doesn’t make sense to me.

But onto the main topic: I have nothing against people believing in Intelligent Design. I just think it is a pretty odd thing to teach in schools, because it doesn’t actually teach anything specific. It’s just like saying “we got here by magic”. Even if evolution is wrong, at least it’s a specific attempt to explain how all this could happen.

It is true that a degree of faith must be exercised in any belief, scientific or religious. The main difference between science and religion, as I see it, is that science can admit it is wrong when new facts present themselves. That is because science is simply the search for the truth, and has no belief to protect. Science has been wrong many times throughout history, but when someone can demonstrate that it is wrong, science is updated. In other words, truth is more important than belief. Religion, on the other hand, holds belief and truth as the same thing, so new evidence is discarded or ignored or marked as blasphemous.

As a admission of guilt on the above point, some alleged scientists, like the followers of any belief system, don’t live by the core principles, and so they might dismiss or ignore bits of truth that they don’t like. But fundamentally the core of science is discovery and learning and refining our understanding of the world, and those people are just practicing bad science.

As a point to remember about science; many Intelligent Design proponents talk about science as though it was some kind of annoying fringe belief system that they’d like to see go away. But these same people drive cars, use cell phones, live in heated, air conditioned houses, drink purified water, eat safe food, and take medical treatment when they are ill. All of these things are a direct result of scientific study over the past few centuries. For all the amazing things that scientific study have brought us, I would expect a little more trust and appreciation. Religion had complete control of the world for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the scientific method grew in popularity that things started getting notably better.

And though nobody can prove the theory of evolution, it is based on some pretty convincing evidence. Not the least of which is that we have actually observed small-scale evolution in our lifetimes: the adaptation of bacteria and insects to be resistant to our antibiotics and pesticides. So we do know for sure that this type of evolutionary adaptation takes place, at least on a small scale. This, combined with fossil records and genetic research makes a pretty strong case for the full theory of evolution.

But I should also say then, that science and religious beliefs are not incompatible! In fact, many Christians these days believe that the creation story is a metaphorical account of evolution. It is obvious that many of the stories in the Bible are not literal; Jesus used parables to illustrate many points. Might that be the case with the story of creation?

The Bible talks about many plagues without describing the underlying biological mechanism of bacterial infection. When bacteria was discovered, did this contradict the Bible? Apparently not. So who says that God didn’t use the biological mechanism of evolution to create life on earth? And as it turns out, the creation story describes the order of events as they would happen in the scientific version, including evolution: after the light and dark, and the earth and water, simple living things like plants appear, then more advanced creatures like fish, then birds, then mammals, and finally man. Taking a big-picture view, the two accounts line up rather nicely.

Science can’t prove or disprove the existence of a god. I personally don’t believe in one, but that has little to do with my scientific faith. Science is just there to explain how all these things in the physical world might have happened. Intelligent Design might be true, but it can’t be a part of the scientific discussion because it doesn’t actually explain anything. Maybe they’re right, maybe everything was intelligently designed, but that doesn’t contradict any point of science or require inclusion in science textbooks.

When Intelligent Design proponents can explain to me where the creator came from, or how the mind of God gets around the problem of “irreducible complexity” which they claim is the flaw in the theory of evolution… well then we can talk, because their explanation would naturally be part of science.

At least, that’s how I see it.

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I don’t care how offensive it was. As an athiest I’m regularly labeled an amoral danger to society. And I’ve been offended every day of my life by some godawful world event. Get used to it.

Props to all the religious folks who can peacefully ignore other folks expressing opinions about their beliefs.

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Well now that it’s done I can publicly admit, without fear of an IRS invasion, that I never did my taxes for 2004. These 2004 taxes included some California stuff, so I decided (after much prodding from my good friend Lisa) to have them done there instead of here in Las Vegas. Well, it all worked out fine… or should I say no fine. Since I had a refund, and there was no penalty. Phew. And we hit the 2005 taxes as well while we were at it so we’re all caught up.

Oh: I have the best accountant ever. He’s a total wise ass. Doing taxes with him is more like having a beer with a buddy, but he knows his tax shit too.

Anyways, that’s why I was in San Francisco this weekend: to do taxes. But since we had to see each other for the tax stuff anyway, I did visit with Sophie as well. And had a very nice time. We hit a couple of our favorite old restaurants, like Left Bank in Pleasant Hill. I really dig that place. After a half bottle of bordeaux and their excellent lamb dish, I was ready to do my taxes all over again.

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