Fuck Daylight Savings Time

In all seriousness, I don't know why we need daylight savings time. All it does is make me have to change my clocks twice a year and likely miss at least one scheduled event shortly after the transition. Sleep schedules don't have much to do with daylight so why are we trying to force to two to coincide. We really need to get rid of these pathetic vestiges of days past and make our time get with the time. I hereby, publicly request that Daylight Savings Time tender its resignation, effective immediately.

And now, a five car pile-up

Last night, at 2:03am, I happened to find myself smack dab in the middle of a five car pile-up on the Bay Bridge. I was on my way to drop off a friend on Treasure Island after a Plaid concert when things happened to go very awry.

In the leftmost lane of the Bay Bridge, a car (car one), had run out of gas and come to a stop. The Bay Bridge being a highway, another car (car two) was barreling down on car one but managed to hit the breaks in an attempt to slow down to avoid a collision. I (car three) saw car two's break lights and made a point of hitting my brakes as well, thinking, "Did I push my clutch in soon enough? I hope that I didn't just fuck up my transmission. I really hope that I can stop in time to not run into this car in front of me." Soon thereafter were two impacts, one coinciding with the thought, "Oh fuck, I've been hit, I hope I don't end up dead!" and the other coinciding with the thought, "Oh shit, not an airbag in the face, please! Why didn't my airbag just deploy? Is it because this impact was slow enough to not trigger it?" I was very clear on the existence of both of those thoughts and the fact that the airbag thought came second but I was, at the time, very unclear on whether I had hit the car in front of me first or if the pickup truck behind me (car four) hit me first. On later recollection, it's clear that the airbag thought, which came second, was connected to the impact with car two, meaning that car four hit me before I hit car two. There was additional bouncing, jostling and confusion as car four pushed my car and car two into car one. Subsequently, the Lexus SUV (car five), whose driver failed to take advantage of the good brakes a Lexus ought to have, plowed into the back of car four. The whole set of colliding took a very short period of time, well under 5 seconds and then it was done, pretty much before I even realized that it had started.

After everything had stopped, I sat in the car for a few moments, seriously hopped up on endorphins and adrenaline; I even managed to feel the slightest upsurge of shock in the bowels of my mind. Thankfully the hint at shock seemed to be my brain asking itself if now would be a good time to go into shock and then, upon discovering that there was no injury, deciding that shock would not be useful. My wits returning and realizing that the eternity of the accident was a mere few seconds, I decided it was best to stay in the car a few more moments to make sure there were no more collisions. After I was satisfied about the conclusion of collisions, I figured that outside a much safer place to be than inside, not from the faux-risk of movie-like explosions but from the very real risk of fire. As such, I got out of the car and convinced my passenger out as well. There was subsequently a lot of standing around and talking to the CHP. Eventually, my car was towed off and I was able to retrieve some personal effects and enlist a ride from some friends to a couch where, shortly after 5am, I was able to get some sleep.

End result, I am uninjured but my 2000 Subaru Legacy GT, which I had grown quite fond of, is likely totaled. Needless to say, I am not particularly pleased but, thankfully, I happen to be very good at getting over, ignoring or suppressing (I'm not sure which) serious emotional traumas. Also, thankfully, I commute to work by public transportation and can survive at least a short while without a car.

There but for the grace of dad, went I

It is probably entirely thanks to the timing of one phone call that I am alive and able to blog the tale.

There is a particular intersection that I am quite partial to: leaving the BART parking lot, the access road meets El Camino Real at a "T". Normally, I like to drive quickly out of this intersection and take a very sharp turn onto El Camino Real, resulting in a sideways slide across 1-1.5 lanes that reminds me of why I love my Subaru. Recently, we've been suffering through a rather severe weather event, which meant the roads were rather wet, and when the roads are wet, the sliding is made all the more fun. On Friday, I happened to arrive at the intersection right as the light was turning red, requiring that I stop and making me the first car for when the light turned green. Being the first car, is optimal because it means that I can really gun it and do a fast, hard, wide slide because there's no one else that I have to watch out for.

There I was, all psyched and ready to gun it for a huge, fast slide when I got a cellphone call from my dad. Having a manual transmission makes it very hard to accelerate quickly, take a turn and talk on the phone all at once, due to lack of hands. Answering a phone call from my dad is more important than a slide opportunity so I decided to abort my slide attempt.

When the light turned green, I set out slowly and, a quarter of the way across the intersection, someone crossed right in front of me, running the red light at 40-50mph. If I had gone full bore into the intersection, I would have been just fast enough to get T-boned right on the driver's side. That phone call probably saved me from serious injury or death and that makes it a very happy coincidence in my book.

My fourth birthday was in Rochester, NY

It's the 4th of January in a new year and, if you've followed me this far, you might recall that this is the anniversary of gwax's rumblings' fp (first post). Although it's been a slow year and I've gotten pretty lazy about updating regularly, I've been doing this for four years and I'm not planning to stop just yet. Speaking of anniversaries, you might recall the sychronicity of my blog sharing a birthday with Uncyclopedia, which just turned three.

2007 turns to 2008

If, one year ago, you had told me that I would be living in San Francisco, with business cards that say I'm a scientist, in a year's time, I would not have believed you. So much has changed--for the better, I think--in the last year, there is no way that I could have seen it coming. In the past year, I have abandoned law school, which I am very happy about; I have moved back to Massachusetts and then away to California, without plans to move back this time; I have started working a, so called, "real" job; I have become financially independent; and, for the first time, I have started to feel like I'm actually an adult, which thoroughly freaks me out sometimes. Actually, seeing as how much changed the year before, I probably shouldn't be too surprised. My life has been pretty tumultuous since I graduated and, honestly, I'd kind of like to give stability a try for a while.

The new year, of course, also means new resolutions and checking on how well old ones turned out. For reference, you might wonder what I resolved last year. Glancing back on the list, which of course I forgot, I can happily report that I have gotten better at faking extroversion, faking an alpha type personality, started eating healthier and played more video games; four for nine isn't bad. Time for some goals for 2008 and, in addition to new ones, I'm going to take a few old ones that still fit:

  • Be more fiscally responsible
  • Be more extroverted
  • Fake an alpha type personality better
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthier
  • Perpetrate some Operation Mindfucks
  • Meet new people

Since these are all things that I'm planning to do anyway, I don't expect it will matter much that I will have forgotten this list in a week.

A Flight of Beauty

Those that know me well enough will understand why and those that don't will have to accept as truth that I consider the attached YouTube video one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen.

Hint: It's because I have had a deep and profound love for paper airplanes since I was a small child.

SantaCon and associated Santarchy

This past Saturday, I attended what is probably the finest event that I have ever had the pleasure of attending, even topping drunken cowboy faires. This past Saturday was San Francisco's SantaCon (aka. Santarchy), which after having heard good tales from Zoz years back and being reminded by a coworker a couple weeks ago, I managed to track down (also available in many other cities).

The basic idea of SantaCon is simple, get dressed up as Santa or something similarly Chrishanukkwanzaastice themed, meet up with a a few similarly dressed up folks and proceed to have a merry time. There are, some nuanced details that make it all the more entertaining, for example, it's more like a few hundred other people, you're gallivanting around an unsuspecting city and you're all consuming copious quantities of alcohol. By my best estimates, there were somewhere between 800 and 1500 Santas & co. that eventually became split between San Francisco and the East Bay. I ended up with the East Bay contingent, quite successfully running amok about Jack London Square and, subsequently, other parts of downtown Oakland. There is really no way that I can properly describe the scene that is half a thousand rampaging Santas; it is both one of the greatest things that I have ever seen and one of the greatest things that I have ever been a part of.

It is my absolute intention to attend SantaCons wherever I may happen to be when they happen in the future and I absolutely recommend that the rest of you do the same. Heck, all the cool kids are doing it.

Déjà Senti

I have at many times in my life had brief, déjà vu like experiences. A recent, particularly strong one inspired me to read up on the phenomenon a bit and mention the occurrences. In reading through wikipedia, I came across the sub-categories of déjà vu and was struck by how much déjà senti, or 'already felt,' sounds like the phenomenon that I experience. The sensation can be described as an uncanny sense of exactly repeating a psychological or emotional state, almost as if someone had recorded my mental state at a time in the past and suddenly loaded it back into my mind. When this happens there is no intermediary reminiscence that reminds me of a previous state, just a sudden shift to the old state. Usually, the phenomenon is very short lived with an equally abrupt shift back leaving me with a strong sense of, "woah, what just happened in my mind?!" It's a very curious and rather pleasant experience, but I find myself wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience or has them recurrently, as I do.

Sometimes I am able, after the fact, to recall an instance in which I was in the mental state that I shifted to and identify a similarity to the present, which may be a candidate trigger stimulus. For example, the phenomena appear to have occurred in response to music on a quite a few occasions, where a particular song jumps me into a state that I was in during a particular previous time that I listened to that song. These music induced jumps seem to occur more often with some songs than others but are, by no means, predictable or repeatable. If such a jump occurs with a given song, it is always to the same state for a given song, which can occasionally demand pressing fast forward. The times when I am able to identify the trigger and original recorded state are the minority; sometimes I get one or the other and sometimes I get neither. Regardless of how much I am able to consciously remember, there is always a strong sense of recollection, hence déjà senti.

When I first started to become aware of these déjà senti occurrences, I figured them for some sort of synesthesia, figuring that I had some sort of music→emotional cross. This theory gained some ground after a discussion on the topic of synesthesia with my cousin, who has perfect pitch; sound→color synesthesia and perfect-pitch are thought to have possible connections and genetic trends. However, as I started paying more attention, I came to realize that the phenomena are not isolated to auditory stimulus and sometimes seem to occur without any sensory stimulus at all. Subsequently, I started considering the phenomenon to be a form of déjà vu. Déjà vu being where I left my thinking until the particularly strong and thoroughly inexplicable occurrence that led to déjà senti and this post. It feels to me as though my brain may be doing a similar thing in the case of déjà senti as in the case of leaps of intuition where I am able to feel the answer to a problem long before I can reason through the problem. Perhaps the brain is capable of processing information at a far faster rate than consciousness can follow and sometimes the brain doesn't want to wait for consciousness to catch up. Maybe I just need to start giving my brain partial credit until it learns how to show its work. Of course, the impatient brain theory doesn't explain why some of my endpoints are complete psychological/emotional states.

Black Friday

Does anyone else find the term "Black Friday" to be particularly morbid? From the sound of it, I feel like we're celebrating the remembrance of some sort of holocaust. It just strikes me as a really poor choice of name.