Lamark, I am here!
Poor Lamark always gets a raw deal when it comes to evolution. While he is frequently remembered for his infamous missteps in early evolutionary theory, his theory was the first real testable hypothesis attempting to explain the generational aspects of adaptive speciation. Moreover, he was an excellent taxonomist of invertebrates, and would become the inaugural Chair of Zoology at the muséum national d'histoire naturelle.
Because this is Europe, the museum is still where it was hundreds of years ago, and is in full possession of those centuries worth of collections. I come upon a signpost, which leads to a fork in the road. Perhaps I should find it revealing as to which path I took on the road ahead.
Perhaps I should always follow my heart in such a fashion.
I am in Paris.
Time ceases to have any real meaning in airports, especially once you start to pass through timezones. The only real numbers that matter are the local times at endpoints and for your connecting flights. The time in between is a blur of fitful sleep, clattering beverage carts, and the occasional word to your fellow traveller.
But I stand at an endpoint.
I am in Paris.
Or at least I will be as soon as I process myself through customs, and receive the first visa stamp in my new passport. I look forward to filling it with many more, as my passports of older days once were. In the meantime, as Oscar Wilde is reputed to have once stated, "I have nothing to declare, except my genius."
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”Finding focus has long been one of the difficulties of my life, but I have absorbed a few important lessons from my time at this graduate program. One of the many tiny epiphanies which I have internalized is to realize that I do have limitations. There are only so many projects at which even I can multitask before those efforts become distractions to one another, and my performance on all of them begins to suffer. Sometimes less really is more, and a smaller scope can provide more focus on individual projects - and I can really lend them the intensity of analysis that I need to adequately develop their potential.
- Lazarus Long, in Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love
"You know how I love to watch you work, but I’ve got my country’s five-hundredth anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped."
- Prince Humperdinck, the Princess Bride
The Book of Hours that will determine my ebb and flow for the next six months:
"Coffee is the common man's gold, and like gold it brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility.... Where coffee is served there is grace and splendour and friendship and happiness."
- attributed to Abd al-Qadir
It is amazing how as little as a quarter cup of coffee can turn your whole morning around. I may someday dedicate an entire sub-category of tag on this website to it, given how frequently the magic drug appears in my musings.
That, and in my old age I am finding that perhaps there is something to this whole "go to bed before midnight" thing. I've been collapsing at around eleven in the evening these days, which makes rising at seven much less of a battle. I still don't think I'll ever be the sort to get up and go running at six - as I suspect that neither coffee nor an early slumber will ever make me a morning person.
"For science to work, clear questions, hypotheses, and testable predictions are an absolute must. Without them, research is blind and typically ineffective."
- Zachary Blount
"The more people I meet, the happier I become. From the meanest creature one departs wiser, richer, more conscious of one's blessings. Even you will have added to my store."
- Pozzo, Waiting for Godot
"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune, - often the surfeit
of our own behavior, - we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity; fools by
heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
disposition to the charge of a star!"
"Without imagination we are nothing, and without bold ventures and risks nothing great of permanence is attainable."
- from the introduction to Jack Chalker's Lords of the Middle Dark
Stef: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, stop, stop! You can't do this. Because these are somebody else's wishes. They're somebody else's dreams.
Mouth: Yeah, but you know what? This one, this one right here? This was my dream, my wish. And it didn't come true. So I'm taking it back. I'm taking them all back.
- the Goonies
"We believe the purpose of science is to serve mankind. You, however, seem to regard science as some sort of dodge or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions highly questionable."
- Dean Yager, Ghostbusters
Brian: Listen buddy, nobody has seen you for two weeks! What is up with that?
Princeton: I went to work for a temp agency, and they fired me for being too depressing on the phone. I maxxed out my cards, I am two months behind in rent, I totally messed up my personal life... Oh - and Brian? I still haven't found my purpose.
Brian: All right. Get off your ass and stop worrying!
"For me, a symbol of that state is a Bedouin mounted on a camel and clad in traditional robes under which he is wearing jeans, with a transistor radio in his hands and an ad for Coca-cola on the camel's back. I am not ridiculing this, nor am I shedding an intellectual tear... I see it rather as... proof that SOMETHING is happening, something is being born, that we are in a phase when one age is succeeding another, when anything is possible."
- VÃ¡clav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World
"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, ever so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this is liberating. He no longer has to worry about trying to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken. The crowning touch, the one thing that puts true world-class badmotherfuckerdom totally out of reach, of course, is the hydrogen bomb. If it wasn't for the hydrogen bomb, a man could still aspire. Maybe find Raven's Achilles' heel. Sneak up, get a drop, slip a mickey, pull a fast one. But Raven's nuclear umbrella kind of puts the world title out of reach.
"Optimism can make you look stupid, but cynicism always makes you look cynical."
- Calum Fisher
Found on the inside of an "Honest Tea" cap purchased today at the Central Market where I am eating my lunch. I am still trying to decide which of the two listed options is better... or worse, as the case may be. A matter of interpretation and preference, I suppose. I can only retaliate with the words of Croaker from Glen Cook's Shadow Games:
"Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent."
"There was a highway ahead - a hidden highway leading deep into some unknown land. There were secrets which might disclose themselves to him if he was clever... and if he was lucky. He had left his home in the light of dawn, and what lay ahead was some great adventure."
- Stephen King, The Wastelands
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space."
- Hamlet: Act II, Scene 2
Thank heavens my sense of humor is still intact.
The locals remember when these trailers really were a place to crash at night after a long day of hauling discarded palm fronds out of the wreckage that used to be your living room. Now I complain that the distribution for the air-conditioning is irregular, and that the temperature can be freezing at one end of the building while tropical at the other. I guess what one really needs is a sense of perspective. I have the fishtank up and running, and I am putting in additional shelving. Rent is cheap, and I get free laundry, power, and water.
This does not change the fact that someday I would like to own a house with a kitchen large enough for two.
"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud."
- Ã‰mile Zola
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
- Marcellus, Hamlet (I, iv, 90)
For all intents and purposes, my laptop is dead. While I may yet go in search of a third opinion, two separate IT-professionals have concluded that some component on the motherboard has gone wrong and leads to an increasing series of internal errors that eventually stack up and result in the unusual freezing behavior approximately five to ten minutes after power-up. As this is a laptop, single components can not be easily removed and replaced, and to repair it would allegedly require replacing the entire motherboard - at the cost of nearly $750.
For twice the price, I can have a brand new laptop with four to six times the power and ability.
This time, I will remember to purchase the extended warrantee that would have covered my issues with motherboard or heat-sink or the boot-sector on the hard-drive or whichever of my components has failed, resulting in this crash. While my family has been universally satisfied with Apple products, and have never had so critical a failure - it appears that laptops are somewhat more fragile, and more prone to damage and destruction. I suppose I should have expected it - given the amount of thumping and bumping the poor beast takes (took?) as I carry it everywhere - and through all kinds of weather.
My laptop is dead. Long live my laptop.
"I suspect that under that cynical shell, you're at heart a sentimentalist."
- Captain Renault, Casablanca
"I'll not be just a nuffin, my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain..."
- The Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz
"Who cares about your lonely soul?
We're striving towards a higher goal!"
- Red & Black, Les Miserables
"Back off, man - I'm a scientist!"
- Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters
"Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning, blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle, light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh, this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline."
- REM's remarkably prescient "End of the World as We Know it (and I feel fine)"
You're drinking what they're selling.
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them.
Your chaos won't convert them.
They're so happy to rebuild it.
You'll never really kill it.
- CAKE's "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle"
"You don't just lie out there and stare at the stars, Hawks! You'll just get rain in your face. You reach out and grab them sons of bitches and you live!"
- Arnold Nagy, Jack Chalker's Masks of the Martyrs
"Freedom has two parts: potential and resolution; as metaphor has two parts: form and interpretation. Of course, the two are intertwined. Metaphor lines the road to freedom, as symbols and words are the bricks and mortar of meaning. Freedom is being the bricoleur, the mason."
- Durandal, Jason Jones' Marathon
"Persistence. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
- Calvin Coolidge