Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Close to Solstice

Tara and I chose to celebrate Xmas at OMSI today. We each picked out gifts for ourselves. I got The Martians by Istvan Hargattai, while Tara selected a well-fitting OMSI hoody, black. Then I chauffered her to Alexia's apartments, which I'd not yet visited.

The OMSI traveling exhibit from The Franklin Institute was most interesting. I felt almost quoted with that "there's no race gene" display, all about how "race" is a social construct (check out those check boxes). The Transparent Lady and beginning of life exhibits, old timers at OMSI (especially the TL), are well integrated. What an interesting exhibit, I look forward to going back.

We each solved a couple IQ puzzles in the foyer (I wrangled those metal pieces a long time, and the attendant said he wasn't worried about me, but every so often some tourist would try prying it with his boot, a funny image).

Since I was already tooling around in Suburbia (Beaverton, near the Nike Campus) burning up peak oil in the torture taxi, I decided I should save and go shopping at Costco. That sounds oxymoronic, but in purchasing wholesale, one is making an investment.

As I told Glenn later, it reminds me of buying at a Px on one of those military bases (Asia-Pacific in my case). The further back you get to the supplies, the more it seems like one big world order, doesn't it? Lots of factory scale engineering, replication of quasi-identical items (making copies).

So yeah, I pushed a cart through the NWO and picked up most of the same things I get retail, plus a few garments, then was back in the neighborhood in time to score some Willamette Weeks to read and share lore about Satya. I'd dropped a hint on the FNB list that this was coming, and it's a fine write up, with good input from Cera (Sara) and Simon as well.

Costco supplies included brown rice, pinto beans, spaghetti and sauce, soy sauce, some cheese, some cereal, no booze, no bread. Coffee beans. Some garments. This was dead of winter stocking up, which may seem out of rhythm. What's actually more characteristic of Xmas are impulse buys and non-utilitarian luxuries, stuff you normally wouldn't find in your average manger scene (frankincense for example). That's more what the OMSI sweater was about (20% off thanks to Tara being a member).

The Identity exhibit doesn't come right out and say that your propensity to laugh at certain jokes is genetic (that'd be pseudo-science). On the contrary, as the exhibit unfurls, you get an increasingly nuanced teasing apart of genes and memes.

Your meme self is more plastic in a lot of ways, more that "dress up doll" of your younger years. Regardless of your physical characteristics, you have a lot of freedom to position yourself in a metaphysical vista.

However, there too, you'll also find yourself in various circumstances, not able to change your core identity on a whim, no turning on a dime in some dimensions. Inertia isn't just about physical gravity, there's the weight of tradition, of lineage and calling, of karma and happenstance.

I was the solo provider at Food Not Bombs on Tuesday, doing prep at the Blue House instead of Pink. About 7-8 of us mingled, or stood apart. Sketch was there, and Simon. Also the bamboo bike trailer engineer.

Some people mostly kept their own counsel, ate in a meditative mood. Here's a solitary dude who said OK to my snapping his photograph (no, that's not Satya).