Link to my local [WWW]letters.

*disclaimer* Know that most of my commentary is said with jest, self-mockery, and a playful spirit. I believe a bit of lightheartedness and dry humor go a long way towards resolving serious issues. *end disclaimer*

My hypothesis: (a) the [wikipedia]Scoville scale of Davis’ restaurants is on the lower end of the piquancy spectrum and (b) their spice complexity forced into an equilibrated state of collective mediocrity. The reason, I believe, is caused by the 50% student population and the raw economic constraints they impose. How, you ask? Well, it’s rather simple, really: the student population at Davis, on the whole, has been raised with minimal exposure to (a) [wikipedia]capsicum and (b) spices common in foreign foods—such as Thailand, India, and Mexico—rendering their taste buds squeamish, weak, and unrefined. This phenomenon, I suspect, ties in with the bourgeoisification of America on some primal level, as well as the general blandness of average American home cooking (salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, etc., are all common and, unless used in gourmet cooking, patently bland). The consequence of the Davis population's bland pallet is that restaurants must (a) savagely curtail their piquancy levels and (b) spice complexity to maintain regular patronization. The cooks, therefore, may be inculpable, but the students—well, I'll leave that judgement up to you. (It occurred to me that the food commentary doubles as an extended metaphor for decadent culture in general—ha! We're all in the Village! Watch out!)

Parodic Autobiography of Prince Vogelfrei

I'm considered baseborn, despite being a descendant of the King of Ireland (or so my father tells me—but then again, all Irish folk—or I should say, more technically, all people who regard themselves as such—think themselves descendant from royalty, and if you go far back enough, it's inevitably true). By saying this my intentions should not be confused: I don't resent being baseborn, for it does not mean I am base. Golden children come from bronze parents, after all. And in this regard, I was fortunate to have golden parents, of a sort (character, though not class). Nor does being baseborn entail suffering from [wikipedia]ressentiment—or does it? Perhaps someday, if I make a name for myself in academia (pardon my perhaps unfounded ego-optimism), I'll look back and say, "All my frustrations were expressions of ressentiment, after all, because now that I have extrinsic, institutionalized power, I no longer know the feeling of oppression—my feelings before were all imagined." But are imagined thought contents and their attendant emotions any less real? I feel, therefore I think. Self-made (or happenstance) liberties do not free us from imagining the very real bonds of others: we can imagine their oppression, empathize with their suffering, their intrinsic ability and potential, despite their being "baseborn." We can also imagine and see a lack of all these good qualities in others—this we should not forget, though I repeatedly do, as a sort of dispositional default. My dog is my pain. Weltschmerz is his name. So someday (maybe), as I suggested, I'll make a name (for myself?) and talk about these things in a scholarly journal or book where people will actually care about what I say enough to influence others in accordance with "my" teachings (that is, the teachings of all who come to the same point). Or maybe (more likely) I'll make a name for myself without extrinsic recognition, in which case I'll live a very real though self-deluded life, and I'll pontificate away the days, expounding on my own theories about ressentiment and fictional foundational emotions. Then everyone will point at me and say, "There's a bronze man thinking he's golden." Though my delusions will be real enough for me (or not). Quando etiam sapientibus gloriae cupido novissima excuitur.

Writing on the Wall

New caution. — Let’s stop thinking so much about punishing, reproaching, and improving!
We rarely change an individual; and should we succeed, something else may have been
accomplished, unnoticed: we may have been changed through him! Let’s rather make sure
our own influence on all that is to come balances and outweighs his influence! Let’s not
struggle in a direct flight, which is what reproaching, punishing, and desiring to improve
amount to. Let’s rather raise ourselves that much higher. Let us give our own example ever
more brilliant colours! Let us darken the others through our light! No—let’s not become
darker on their account, like those who punish and are dissatisfied! Let’s sooner step aside!
Let us look away!
—F. N. (GS, 321)

“With the development of modern civilization, nature (which man had tried to reduce to a mechanism for
the purpose of ruling it) and objects have become man's lord and master, and the machine has come
to dominate life. The ‘objects’ have progressively grown in vigor and intelligence, in size and beauty—while
man, who created them, has more and more become a cog in his own machine. Perhaps there is no point
on which there is more general agreement among sensible and right-minded contemporaries.”
—Max Scheler (1915, Ressentiment)

"Whoever is ringed by the flame of jealousy in the end will turn his poisonous stinger upon himself,
like the scorpion."
— Nietzsche (''Z'' I.24)

Life must offer us a rest. — If, as the thinker does, one usually dwells in a great stream of thought and
feeling, and pursues this stream even in nocturnal dreams: then what one desires of life is rest and silence—
while others, conversely, want to take a rest from life when they give themselves over to meditation.
— Nietzsche (Daybreak 572)

Nobody questions things in this country anymore ... people are too fat and happy; people
are way too fucking prosperous for their own good. Everyone’s got a cell phone that’ll make
pancakes and rub their balls now, you know? So, nobody wants to rock the boat. Americans
have been silenced and bought off by gizmos and toys and as a result no one learns to
question things -- no one learns to question things in this country anymore.
-- George Carlin, ''It's Bad for Ya!''

“When man possesses the feeling of power he feels and calls himself good: and it is precisely then that
the others upon whom he has to discharge his power feel call him evil!” —F. N. (D, 189)

Usually misunderstood. — In a conversation you can watch one of the participants busy
setting a trap into which the other then falls—but he does it, not out of malice, as might
be thought, but out of pleasure at his own artfulness. Then again, you will see one set up
a joke so that the other can make it, tie a loop so that the other can unknot it: but he
does it, not out of benevolence, as might be thought, but out of malice and contempt for
cruder intellects. — Nietzsche (D, 351)

“Do not waste the remaining part of your life in thoughts about other people, when you are not thinking
with reference to some aspect of the common good. Why deprive yourself of the time for some other task?
I mean, thinking about what so-and-so is doing, and why, what he is saying or contemplating or plotting,
and all that line of thought, makes you stray from the close watch on your own directing mind.”
stoicMarcus Aurelius

Learning solitude. -- O you poor devils in the great cities of world politics, you gifted
young men tormented by ambition who consider it your duty to pass some comment on
everything that happens -- and there is always something happening! Who when they
raise the dust in this way think they are the chariot of history! Who, because they are
always on the alert, always on the lookout for the moment when they can put their
word in, lose all genuine productivity! However much they may desire to do great work,
the profound speechlessness of pregnancy never comes to them! The event of the day
drives them before it like chaff, while they think they are driving the event -- poor devils! --
If one wants to represent a hero on the stage one must not think of making one of the
chorus, indeed one must not even know how to make one of the chorus.
-- Nietzsche (D, 177)

Beware ". . . the vindictive cunning of impotence . . ." — N

Young people, many of you are looking to make a difference, to challenge the status quo.
Well the way Dr. King chose to challenge authority was revolutionary, and I think we can
do better. He accomplished so much by refusing to engage in violence. Doesn't it stand to
reason that we can accomplish so much more by refusing to engage in anything at all? Not
riding a bus sent a powerful message, so imagine how powerful a message you can send
by not leaving your bed. Young America, it is time to go beyond passive resistance to pure
passiveness. And you're off to a great start. In almost four years of war, there have been
no rallies, there has been no action in the streets . . . you have been to the mountaintop,
you have seen the promise land, and you have turned up your iPod and started playing
Xbox. Yes. But you can do less. So get up out of your chair right now and lie down on
your sofa. I'm calling for a nationwide lie-in. Stock your snacks accordingly. Remember:
it won't just be one of you doing nothing, it'll be millions. In the words of so many young
people this Christmas morning, "I . . . have a Wii."
--  Stephen Colbert

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around,
what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we
are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes
them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.
And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to
protect it.”

. . . Take stock of those around you and you will see them wandering about
lost through life, like sleep-walkers in the midst of their good or evil
fortune, without the slightest suspicion of what is happening to them. You
will hear them talk in precise terms about themselves and their surroundings,
which would seem to point to them having ideas on the matter. But start to
analyze those ideas and you will find that they hardly reflect in any way the
reality to which they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you will discover
that there is not even an attempt to adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite
the contrary: through these notions the individual is trying to cut off any
personal vision of reality, of his own very life. For life is at the start of
a chaos in which one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is
frightened at finding himself face-to-face with this terrible reality, and
tries to cover it over with a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear.
It does not worry him that his 'ideas' are not true, he uses them as trenches
for the defense of his existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.
        The man with a clear head is the man who frees himself from those
fantastic 'ideas' and looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it
is problematic, and feels himself lost. As this is the simple truth -- that
to live is to feel oneself lost -- he who accepts it has already begun to
find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked,
he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless
glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will
cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only
genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric,
posturing, farce. He who does not really feel oneself lost, is lost without
remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against
his own reality.
-- José Ortega y Gasset, from ''The Revolt of the Masses.''

Fundamental idea of a commercial culture. — Today one can see coming into
existence the culture of a society which commerce is as much the soul as
personal contest was with the ancient Greeks and as war, victory, and justice
were for the Romans. The man engaged in commerce understands how to appraise
everything without having made it, and to appraise it according to the needs of
the consumer
, not according to his own needs; ‘who and how many will consume
this?’ is his question of questions. This type of appraisal he often applies
instinctively and all the time: he applies it to everything, and thus also to
the productions of the arts and sciences, of thinkers, scholars, artisans,
statesman, peoples and parties, of the entire age: in regard to everything that
is made he inquires after supply and demand in order to determine the value of
a thing in his own eyes
. This becomes the character of an entire culture,
thought through in the minutest and subtlest detail and imprinted in every will
in every faculty: it is this of which you men of the coming century will be proud:
if the profits of the commercial class are right to give it into your possession!
But I have little faith in these profits. Credat Judaeus Apella—in the words
of Horace.
— Nietzsche (D, 175)

It is true that to offer political rights, or safeguards against
intervention by the State, to men who are half-naked, illiterate,
underfed and diseased is to mock their condition; they need medical
help or education before they can understand, or make use of, an
increase in their freedom. What is freedom to those who cannot make use
of it? Without adequate conditions for the use of freedom, what is the
value of freedom? . . . The Egyptian peasant needs clothes or medicine
before, and more than, personal liberty, but the minimum freedom that
he needs today, and the greater degree of freedom that he may need
tomorrow, is not some species of freedom peculiar to him, but identical
with that of professors, artists, and millionaires.
-- Isaiah Berlin

The next time you say something inappropriate, I'm gonna tell you that "a still tongue makes a happy life" :-) — CraigBrozinsky

Unmutual! —JeffreyNonken

If it be [WWW]calumny, time will tell. —ZN

It is an extremely painful thing to be ruled by laws that one does not know. -- Kafka

In Memory

The title of this section, "In Memory," is a target of contention in George Carlin's last [WWW]skit, so I think it’s appropriately named. His last act was about death—not an easy thing to make light of. Its success as a truly comedic act, despite its darkly subject, helps ease the passage of a great comedian. Carlin combined two often contradictory qualities: he was both a percipient satirist and a warmhearted, authentic individual. His sardonic cynicism was always inexplicably counterpoised by warm lightness. I'll most remember Carlin for his fearlessness in the face of the status quo. He never wavered. I like to think he knew what was coming, and so he faced his greatest fear by making fun of it.


Note: You must be logged in to add comments

2005-10-11 00:04:47   Yeah, since my Arrival in Davis, I've also noticed that the General's Chicken is uniformly bland, no Indian restaurant borders on hot, and the Thai restaurants barely tango with taste. If you'd like your taste buds to be Living in Harmony, I'd recommend you convince servers that Its Your Funeral, and clearly state the A, B, and C's of your own spice tolerance. For those restaurants that have A Change of Mind, you'll have Many Happy Returns. For the restaurants that simply placate your requests, I'd like to see the Fall Out on the wiki where, as you know, commentary is always a Free For All. BTW, make sure to preview your edits before saving them— you're re-saves on Thai Recipes Numbered 6! —CraigBrozinsky

2005-10-11 09:07:18   Sadly, I agree that the likelihood of Davis restaurants uniformly changing the spicyness level is roughly zero. I was more suggesting that you ask them to personalize the spiciness of your dish. This is always a reasonable request in a restaurant who's selling out to accomodate American tastes. Its funny i told you to preview— i accidentally clicked the submit button in the middle of typing this! Anyway, previewing is good because it limits the number of changes in the history. Last time I checked, the viewable history is limited to the last 100 changes. Fewer saves therefore allows for more snooping into a page's history. Also, you'd be helping out people with Chronic Recent Changes Syndrome, a minor form of OCD where WikiGnomes feel obligated to check every change made to the Wiki. As for my movie site, I'd love to have you aboard! Let me know when you've come up with 5 or so films, and I'll give you an account. As for New Canton, I've never been there. Well, thats a half truth— the half hour wait this past Sunday was unappealing, so I went to Pancake Circus instead. —CraigBrozinsky

2005-10-12 00:53:04   Maybe town restaurants need to have a scale like this: "Mild," "Medium," "Hot," "Thai Hot," "Police-grade Pepper Spray" —PhilipNeustrom

Frequent editing is good, but multiple, rapid-fire re-saves are just a bad habit. They clutter up the change log for a page, which makes it harder to track the real evolution of the page's content, rather than someone fixing minor typos, slight rewordings/reformatting, or general brain farts. Then you have to answer the question, Which group of changes really represents that one revision? Also, they force the server to save a copy of every single little change. Use preview and spend some time thinking about what you've written before actually saving. Looking at the revision history of a page and seeing 3+ edits from the same author in less than a minute is just lame. —Jevan

2005-10-12 11:43:43   That hilarious—a dinner where you expect no one to like any of the food! —CraigBrozinsky

2005-10-13 21:26:44   aren't all of the reports regarding bistro 33 "unconfirmed"? and you are not very good at judging character, fyi —DisgustedDiner

2005-10-13 22:08:16   What about that freaky Bistro 33 story turned out to be true? Also, you should try the New Delhi Chaat House and ask for you food to be ultra-spicy. Its the spiciest food I've had in Davis, and I'm sure the cooks would be amenable to heat requests. —CraigBrozinsky

2005-10-28 10:35:05   I deleted DisgustedDiner’s comments because they were an unsubstantiated, anonymous flame. If we let everyone flame restaurants anonymously, it’s going to get out of control. How long before less than ethical restaurants start using the wiki to claim finding fingers in their chili? —ArlenAbraham

2005-11-05 13:25:15   You are questioning the greater social institution of schools, which I think is good. I was merely acting as devil's advocate, explaining why this particular district is currently doing what it is doing. I have not even expressed my opinion on the matter and am offended that you would say I am consciously conforming to the way things are. There are many things wrong with our public schools, but you have to understand why things are they way they are before you can change them. Thats all I'm saying. I said your initial comment was idealistic because at this point in time I don't see a change in student's rights happening anytime soon. —MiriamKaufman

2005-11-22 23:19:59   no hard feelings here either, i was only responding at all in idle fun. arlen hates resaves cause it looks messy and clogs the revision history. if you save when someone else is writing, it just creates an edit conflict, where it displays both your version and my version. easily fixable in about 5 seconds. i didn't want to commit to a serious arguement, fun as it may be, because i didn't really have a side i wanted to pick. —ES

2005-12-13 21:40:39   Is Loki microchipped? —ES

2005-14-13 Awesome picture!! Is that from The Prisoner? That's a great series, and if you haven't been to 49'ers Video in the Albertson's complex on Covell, it was just released on DVD and is available for rental. "Be seeing you." —DerekBorba

2005-12-25 14:39:04   once that conversation fizzles down, it would be useful if you can concisely extract the Davis-relevant points, and maybe put them on Restaurants/Authenticity or a new page. —CraigBrozinsky

2005-12-26 18:56:00   I like how you brought the food philosophy pages together. —NickSchmalenberger

2006-01-10 01:19:04   i think the appropriate response is a great two word phrase: "Pretentious? Moi?" :-) —CraigBrozinsky

2006-01-10 04:09:56   Either you're right or — and this is just a small fact that you seem to have missed — the majority of America's culinary inheritance comes from western Europe, which uses a different range of spices, few of which have any capsicum (sage, thyme, basil, etc). You say you are descended from Irish ancestors? I hate to break this to you, but Irish cuisine isn't exactly hot. Creamy and savory, yes. Hot, no. On the other hand, they did spend a few millenia perfecting that beer you like so much. —JabberWokky

2006-02-09 00:50:38   ZN, care to recommend any of your favorite literary works to paisans like myself? —JohnNapier

2006-10-09 22:30:57   im sory i disagree with your analysis of the Davis palate. yes it is much weeker in terms of ability to handle spice even more so than other places in the US. However, this does not mean they have a "unrefined" palate. it would be comparable to say that someone who thought foods were too salty and couldnt handle the salt content of some dishes is unrefined. But, if you order food extra spicy at shanghai town (tan tan noodles are insanely good) i think you will be pleasantly suprised. the spicy dumplings are not hot though, go with the string beans and tan tan noodles and say you want it extremely spicy. —MattHh

2007-01-15 15:40:03   Rack is slang for a G, which is slang for a grand, which is $1000, sometimes referred to as 1 K. >_< Thanks for the grammar changes; you're the man. And not the government man, but you're a cool guy man... —StevenDaubert

2007-05-02 21:19:50   I share your yearning for reasonably spicy and authentic food in Davis. solidarity :( nice to know I'm not the only one. —MiranPark

2008-02-12 15:18:44   Zach, I liked your [satirical] comment on the Thai Recipes page about [juxtaposing] masturbation [with love]. It's so true that beautiful, outspoken people are an anomaly in Davis and have to resort to this. Whenever I do go slumming for soulless sex, I remember why I stopped doing that in the first place. So far in Davis, I haven't been able to make a true connection with the opposite sex. My running line is, "Everyone's so glued to their laptops that they forget life is in front of them." —HotnessSought

2008-03-19 20:13:40   While i think we have butted heads slightly in the past over Roma's cleanliness and the spice content of Davis restaurants, I have to say you are right on the money with 3rd and U. I remember saying to myself as i was eating a sandwich, "there is no way in hell that i would study here." Ew, its so lowed and uncomfortable. There was like 5 people there when i went, and I could hear every conversation and every dish being cooked. The place also has no personality, the decorations and everything are like SoCal chain healthy fast food chain restaurant. —MattHh

2008-06-16 15:42:19   for what it's worth, from your posts on the wiki I think your ability to never accept dogma and to always question, I think you would make a great tutor. I think that the Socratic method is actually the best form of tutoring. The more questions i ask them, the more they think. Sometimes the questions have to be a little leading, but i am totally opposed to tutors who just give students the answers and explain them. —MattHh

2008-06-26 08:13:51   Zachary, I feel for you. I live out of Moleskines, Rollabinds and have a shelf of composition books that date back many years. Good luck getting it back. Did you put contact information in the "Reward" spot at the front? —JabberWokky

2008-07-24 15:32:43   What course? I have applied QT to myself, from a book, with better than 90% success (on headaches, muscle aches, muscle fatigue, scratches), so far. If it turns out it doesn't work on anyone else, I'll still use it. It just struck me as so simple others must have tried it, so I was just making an attempt at contacting them. I didn't realize Davis Wikiians were so ferociously against things like it. Oh, and I didn't realize there even was a website! Go figure. —Sankofa416

2008-08-05 06:43:45 My writing skills are leaving me in old age. Can you help me to make an interesting read out of the trolls page? My trouble is blending concision and punch with informative value. —TheAmazingLarry

2008-12-19 17:24:18   I think it will still see the page name... —StevenDaubert

2008-12-19 17:25:46   btw: Deathsauce FTW —StevenDaubert

2009-02-26 22:13:45   I don't know, I only asked because generally when archiving comments there are some recent ones left. Maybe the last two could have been left, but I don't think it makes sense to change that at this point. You are right that they are tied into one whole conversation. —JasonAller

2009-05-23 09:46:09   Zach, I don't know who you talked to at the Annual Meeting, but my mother was in Los Angeles the whole time. —DougWalter

2009-05-27 15:15:48   I actually remember the public comments time for the proposed development on the tank house, I think the orange trees would die if they were to be transplanted, but some are better than none eh? —StevenDaubert

2009-08-08 14:43:01   You may want to consider using the 'preview' button while editing. It will make less revisions for the page, and it will help avoid spamming the Recent Changes page. —JoePomidor

2009-08-11 19:16:12   I'm still trying to figure out which tone you were using when you wrote [WWW]this. —JasonAller

2009-08-11 19:23:17   You seem to have a distaste for Avid Reader's philosophy section. If you would like to come in and recommend a few titles, I'd love to order them for the store so that others may share in your knowledge. We are a community-based independent bookstore for a reason and you wouldn't be the first person to do so. —SunjeetBaadkar

2009-12-05 18:12:41   Interesting reading my past conversations in an entirely new light. Thanks for your comments and for continuing the conversation. Still learning the ropes around here. —Sankofa416

This is a Wiki Spot wiki. Wiki Spot is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps communities collaborate via wikis.