Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I was driving to an area of Ann Arbor over the weekend, by way of US-127 and I-94. I've never driven farther down 127 than Mason so it was an enjoyable drive, light traffic, everything. Good day for driving.

There is construction on the bridge which connects 127 and 94 so I, along with a line of other cars, got to take a nice detour through the middle of who knows where. Also referred to as "somewhere close to Jackson, but not." At any rate... I saw lots of Confederate license plates, jacked-up trucks with enormous high-tread wheels, and "Deer Processing Here" signs. Like I got off the highway in Michigan and landed in Alabama somewhere. Michigan is a strange place.

Once I reached my exit I misread the poorly-written directions and headed the wrong way. I suspected this mistake when the road I was on turned to dirt and gaping potholes, but being unfamiliar with the area, I continued. After passing an old barn surrounded by fleecy sheep, and then what appeared to be a castle, and then driving over a one-lane bridge, I decided that this was, in fact, the wrong direction. I turned around and headed back from whence I came, and eventually came to my destination, but I was going the opposite direction compared to what I thought.

That was strange for me, being someone with a fairly accurate sense of direction, but it was an overcast day and impossible to get bearings. Makes you appreciate those who sailed the world in search of new lands all the more.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tradition and change
passing on the street with barely a hello
that is what the world has come to today
and probably tomorrow too.

note: I found this picture somewhere on the web but I don't remember where... hence the lack of credit where it's due. My apologies.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I checked out a book from the library today which has never been checked out before. Date of publication? 1977. Administrative problems in metropolitan areas: a case study of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Area. On the problems of urban development in the Poona metropolitan area. I wonder if it will ever be checked out again, I wonder if it has ever been read before.

It may not be the most interesting subject, I may hate the class and therefore the fact that I even know of the existence of this book, it may be 5:32 A.M. and the paper may be due at 8 A.M. and it's not even started yet. This book may live in the basement in those creepy moving bookcases and smell like mold, but not the nice old book kind, just the kind that makes me sneeze, and it may be impossible to read because it appears to have been typed using a typewriter.

Still, though, what a lonely life for a book.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Today in my Asian Perspectives class, the prof talked for a while about "The Two Koreas." In light of the past few days it seemed fitting, and it was pretty interesting. I don't know much about either Korea, other than knowing some people who managed to escape from North Korea, and loving Korean food.

The Republic of Korea [South] has a population of roughly 50 million, whereas the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North] has about half that, at around 23 million. Up until the Soviet era, North Korea was an industrial powerhouse and South Korea was mostly agricultural. Today, however, South Korea is one of Asia's "economic tigers," heavy in ICT and service-based industries. The people of North Korea, at least those who aren't high government officials, are for the most part starving.

Kim Jong Il puts somewhere in the area of 90% of the national budget into the military. Hence the nuclear test of the other day, and missile testing of a few years ago. We know that North Korea could hit Japan, parts of China, Russia, or other surrounding countries with missiles, and they could probably reach North America as well. North and South Korea never actually declared "non-war" and we have around 37,000 troops stationed near the border between the two Koreas, so this military posturing even more significant.

Kim Jong Il sounds like a bit of a man-child to me. I mean, honestly. FIRE ZE MISSILES! He actually had the Steven Spielberg of South Korea kidnapped along with his wife, and held them for a few years, because one of his hobbies is film and filmmaking. So he figured, hell, why not just kidnap a director so he can make movies for me? Childish.

So what we have now is a diplomatic nightmare... do we use military force? Sanctions? Should we cut aid? Personally, I think he leans a little bit crazy, and why can't someone just take him out? Don't pretend to be shocked, it's not as if that doesn't happen in and among governments. If any crazy leader deserves to be blown out of the water, it's probably Kim Jong Il.

In related news, I think my college years will disqualify me from the hope of ever being in politics. Things like the above are probably career-breakers. Oh well, these days politics isn't much of an aspiration.

Maybe President Shrub and Kim Jong Il should fight to the death in a cage battle.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sometimes I wonder... is the world coming to be a more frightening place, or do we just understand a little better now than we did before?

Maybe the problem stems from our greater understanding of one another... strengths and weaknesses, fears, those little things that include us in a larger entity. As we grow more interconnected and dependent on one another, each economic hiccup could set the dominoes tumbling.

For such a small world, such a chaotic existence. I don't understand it all, though my studies in the sciences [social, economic, physical] are beginning to draw a rough sketch of potential reasons. Not justifications, but excuses I suppose. And really, what is existence anyway other than a vehicle to produce another generation? Once we're dead it doesn't matter how many houses we owned or what our cars cost, because everyone save for poor Ted Williams is returning to the earth after death.

A map of estimated "spam" email volume...

... and of light pollution at night.

We are so complicated.