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Cervantes' Journal

17th October, 2009. 10:10 pm. Parlor Games

I was pondering this evening the use of the term parlor for certain, very specific, types of business establishments. You can have a pizza parlor, an ice cream parlor, a tattoo parlor, a beauty parlor, and a massage parlor. But that's pretty much it (feel free to chime in if you know more). Is there some factor I am not seeing these activities and products have in common? Some similarity in the layout of the structures in which they are offered?

So, I guess basically my question is; what do pizza, ice cream, tattoos, massage, and beauty have in common? Oh, and where can I meet her?

Current mood: geeky.

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4th January, 2009. 7:26 pm. Phone numbers

So, my old phone finally died completely (apparently including the sim card!)so if I had your number please call me on my new phone (same number) or email me. If I didn't have your number, but you want me to, you can do the same thing!

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1st October, 2008. 4:45 pm. Ode to a Most Tragical Tuber

But hark! It is the haunting cry of the wild potato!
It roams the plains, with fearful eyes, southeast of old Loredo.

It seeks a cruel and darkened place, scorns sunlight as a traitor,
With mournful tone, and frightful drone, it curses its creator!

Despite its low and doleful sound, it's unsurpassed in flavor,
And many a man has searched in vain, in pursuit of that timorous tater.

Current mood: productive.

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3rd June, 2007. 11:00 pm.

I'm Doug! I'm Doug! I'm Doug~!

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27th April, 2007. 3:01 am. Leila

Some of you have probably heard me talk about my friend Leila's music. She is an incredible composer, and an amazing pianist. Anyway, she has finally given me permission to pimp her myspace music page, so I just wanted to pass the link along and encourage you to check it out. She is just getting stated and trying to build an online fan base, so please feel free to pass the link on to all your friends *grin*


Current mood: awake.

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19th January, 2007. 2:56 pm. Intolerance, Fundamentalism, and the Left

Many American Christian fundamentalists seem to suffer from a paranoid persecution complex. Despite the fact that their wing of the Republican party has controlled the white house for the majority of the past quarter century, and that the overwhelming majority of talk-radio hosts are right-wingers, they believe themselves to be a beleaguered and besieged minority surrounded by the demonic forces of the dominant radical-secular elites and a laughable fantasy called the “liberal media.” However, despite their position as the most vocal and visible (although not the largest) ideological camp within the overwhelmingly dominant religion in the United States (i.e. Christianity), their complaints of persecution by the left are not entirely unfounded.

Consider this hypothetical situation: An orthodox Jew, or perhaps a devout Hindu, is walking down the street, when suddenly a stranger comes up to him, begins questioning his logic in upholding what he believes to be the basic tenets of his faith, and ridiculing diverse aspects of his religion. Most people who consider themselves tolerant, radical, progressive, or liberal, would immediately label the stranger as a bigot, not to mention something of an asshole.

And yet many of these same people, who would never dream of engaging in such despicable behavior when speaking with a member of any other faith, feel absolutely no compunction in acting in precisely the same way when interacting with, or speaking about, Christian fundamentalists. This is particularly prevalent in the more anonymous venue of online bulletin boards and chat rooms, where many “liberals” deliberately and joyously partake in such activities, often known as fundy-baiting. The phenomenon is not limited to chat rooms however, as a recent article by Doug Soderstrom in the online newsletter of the Populist Party shows:


This article, entitled “A Fundamental Evil” pulls a page directly out of George W. Bush’s book in labeling Christian Fundamentalists “the most evil people in the world.”

The argument is often made that this is justified by the degree of social influence fundamentalists have, and the perceived social damage they are capable of bringing about. After all, Hindus do not attempt to criminalize the consumption of beef, Orthodox Jews don’t try to enforce a Saturday Sabbath on the broader American public, and yet fundamentalist Christians do attempt to legislate their own version of morality. For decades they have attempted to roll-back pro-choice legislation based on Roe v. Wade. Since the Scopes Monkey Trial they have attempted to get their own particular creation myth taught in public schools, supplanting (or in the case of the modern intelligent design movement, held up as being as equally scientifically viable as) Darwinian evolutionary theory.

The reason they are able to do this is that they represent the dominant religious ideology in the United States today, and a facet of the broader social ideology of neo-conservatism. Were members of another religious group in this position, they might very well do the same. In India, fundamentalist Hindu parties such as the BJP do attempt to legislate Hindu morality. The same can be said of right-wing Jewish parties in Israel, and Islamic regimes throughout much of the middle-east.

However, the United States constitution and the bill of rights were theoretically set up with the intent of eliminating or at least minimizing, the ability of religious groups whether in the minority or the majority, to enforce their will on people of other faiths. Thus, some progressives would argue, Christian fundamentalists are hypocritically working in opposition to the very documents they claim to idealize. I would agree. I strongly feel that they should be confronted within both the public and the legal sphere whenever they attempt to restrict the freedoms of other based upon their own beliefs. This however should not take the form of belittling them for their own beliefs, or shouting them out of the public discourse.

Those on the left who trumpet the value of tolerance, then behave with intolerance towards the religious right are guilty of just as much hypocrisy as those they criticize. The argument has been made that due to their own intolerance, Christian fundamentalists do not deserve tolerance. In spirit, this is the same argument made by the United States government and conservatives during the 1950’s when they claimed that communists should not be afforded their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association because were they to take power, they would deny these rights to others.

Current mood: quixotic.

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20th August, 2006. 6:13 pm. Not much else going on tonight...

Cattell's 16 Factor Test Results
Warmth |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Aggressiveness ||||||||| 22%
Liveliness ||||||||| 26%
Dutifulness |||||||||||| 34%
Social Assertiveness ||||||||||||||| 42%
Sensitivity |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Paranoia |||||| 18%
Abstractness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Introversion ||||||||||||||| 50%
Anxiety |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Openmindedness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Independence |||||||||||| 34%
Perfectionism |||||||||||| 34%
Tension |||||||||||| 38%
Take Cattell 16 Factor Test (similar to 16pf)
personality tests by similarminds.com

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7th August, 2006. 2:58 am. Midnight Ramblings

It was, in actuality, well past midnight before I headed out. I had just finished watching the film "Shine" for a second time, it was a warm and muggy night, and I was restless and unable to sleep. Perhaps influenced by the film, I also felt the need for a creative outlet, with or without the attendant madness. I took a pen and a small pad of paper and walked out my front door around 1:30am.

I walked a direct route, from my home down Hedding Street to the intersection of Hedding and the Alameda. A quick on-line map search tells me that the distance comes to 1.48 miles, essentially a three mile walk round trip. I traveled slowly, listening to my footsteps in a silence otherwise broken only by the occasional passing car. A small sign was posted on a lamp post near First Street, by someone searching for a missing dog. The paper included a blurry photograph, the description given was that the dog in question was "medium or large" with brown fur. Incongruously, it was also noted that the dog had a purple tongue. The plea was repeated below in Spanish, "Perdido"...lost.

I stopped for a few seconds at a well lit and covered bus stop in front of the California National Guard armory, 185th Quartermaster Battalion. On the lawn of the armory, in fact aimed directly towards the bus stop, is a small antique artillery piece. The muzzle has been capped, and on this plug someone had painted an inverted peace sign. The armory lies across the street from the County Offices, adjacent to which is the County Jail and San Jose Police Station. Thus surrounded by three vital organs of the government, the military, the bureaucracy, and law enforcement, one feels the presence of the State is almost oppressively tangible on Hedding Street.

Continuing, I walked under the newly constructed overpass for Highway 87, which now bypasses my Street, forcing me to travel an additional two whole blocks to Taylor to get on the freeway. This portion of the street is lined with several new construction projects. In front of one of these is a short fence, covered with black cloth. An unknown artist painted a monochromatic mural along the length of the cloth, consisting of several simply sketched and stylized bicycles in white paint. Although anonymous, the work is actually signed. Printed at the far end of the row of bicycles in cursive text is the moniker "One Sad Sailor" surrounded on either side by painted anchors.

Nearby, in the gutter, I saw a thin booklet, and picked it up. The booklet was printed with the badge insignia of the County Jailhouse on the cover, and entitled "Inmate Orientation and Rulebook." The short tome contains a well ordered and uncritical description of daily life within the Jail, rules of conduct, schedules, and the like. Although laying in the street and curled in on itself, the booklet was relatively clean, and I decided to keep it. Thus the following scenario ran through my mind: What if I meet some great girl, and she eventually ends up back at my place, comes across this booklet, and becomes convinced that contrary to impressions and my self description, I am in fact an ex-con? Well, perhaps she'll be be the type who goes for bad boys...

Making my way up the large overpass across the train tracks, I came upon another odd painted sign, this time on the concrete sidewalk. A large white "X" luminescent beneath the street lamp, outlined in black. My shadow, grossly forshortended by the lamplight, lay across the x with a menacing foreboding.

Descending the other side of the overpass one can view Bellarmine College Preparatory, a males only Catholic high school. Although I was slightly acquainted with one Bellarmine student during high school, I never knew anything about this institution aside from a short rhyming ditty about its students, which makes predictions regarding the school's effect on their future sexual orientation. Mysteriously, although it was late August, and after two in the morning, the faculty parking lot was more than half full. Was this some wild late night faculty party? A secret ritual of Opus Dei? Or do Bellarime faculty live on-campus? The truth may never be known.

I reached the intersection of Hedding and The Alameda just before 2:30am, crossed the street, then crossed it back again on the other side. The return trip was largely uneventful. Now, I hope sleep will be soon in coming.

Current mood: contemplative.

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14th June, 2006. 1:37 am. Musical Opportunity

So, if anyone is interested in traveling up to San Francisco tomorrow evening, my friend Leila, a very talented musician and composer, is playing a gig at a cafe and I am trying to help her fill the place up a bit.

She will be playing at the Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California Street San Francisco. From approximately 8-9pm.

If anyone wants to go, I will provide free transportation to the city.

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4th June, 2006. 10:41 pm. Sick...

Ahhh.....the pestilence is upon me. Someone bring me some juice and some more tissues. Or soup.

I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.
- Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto II, Stanza 13

Current mood: uncomfortable.

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