I picked up for a few bucks this Univac security guard’s shield. Like many security badges it’s based on a New York State Great Seal. The proportions are changed and the figures of Liberty – woman holding a Phrygian cap on a stick (well, actually Liberty pole if you want to get technical) and Justice – woman with a sword and scale. There’s sunrise over Hudson inside the shield, but without the two boats. New York State’s motto Excelsior (which is Latin for “Up Your’s”).
The plastic laminated id is kind of cool, because it’s a miniature punchcard.
I guess the manufacturers of rent-a-cop badges are trying to make them subtly similar to NYPD logo, yet different enough not to get in trouble. NYPD badge is based on a similar, yet very distinct New York City Seal. Instead of Liberty and Justice it features American Indian with a bow. The other figure is enigmatic – for the longest time I thought that it was another American Indian holding a dead animal or a tomahawk. In fact, it turns out to be a Dutch sailor holding a “sounding line” – a nautical depth measuring rope. Another useless bit of trivia: Mark Twain chose his pen name from the expression “mark twain”, meaning only two fathoms reading on the sounding line.
The five stars on the chevron are for the five boroughs, the windmill is for the Dutch origins of New York City. The most unsettling part, is of course the Justice scales that rest on top of fasces, a bundle of sticks with an axe inside – the ancient symbol of authority. Along with the swastika, fasces has been marred as a symbol of Fascism, to which it gave its name.
Taking pictures of sunsets is so damn easy these days. Just bracket like crazy, and voila. Instant purdiness.
A sunset can make everything look pretty. Even the ugly ass twin brother of the building in which I live. Oooh, how I hate that building. I am thinking of finding out who the architect was and harassing that person over the phone (or in some other way).
I am thinking about writing a science fiction series about a materialistic spaceship pilot. There would be a story about him going on a quest to find the most comfortable spaceship chair, the best spacesuit in the universe, the most perfect cereal bowl. One mission would be to obtain a room in a skyscraper on a planet that wobbles in orbit in such a way that the people in that skyscraper can watch constant sunsets and sunrises over a glittering dead ocean.
Had an interesting recursive dream today. At the very beginning of the dream I realized that I was dreaming. Great, I thought, lets try to do some lucid dreaming. But as soon as I though that, I was kicked out of the dream state. I was desperately trying to fall asleep and get back into that dream, but failed miserably. That’s because the part about me trying to fall asleep – that was also a dream.
Dreams are fascinating. Yet it is very hard to listen to or read other people’s dream narratives. Irrational, disjointed nature of dreams requires a special skill to translate them into words. Also, dream narratives are often bogged down with unnecessary details. Of course dreams helped Mendeleyev and Kekulé, Joseph, Dali and other notables, but it is still very hard to listen to somebody rambling about a weird dream he or she had that morning. “And you were there, and the cat was there .. and we all were running .. oh but wait, you weren’t there. Oh it wasn’t the cat. You were the cat. Hmm, can’t remember.”
Of course, some people have very interesting dreams and can even put them into interesting stories. But the master of the genre is Jesse Reclaw, an online cartoonist. His motto is “Your dreams I will draw”. He takes dream narrative submissions, chooses the most interesting ones, edits them and makes a four panel cartoon out of each. You can read a fresh one every week at his website, http://www.slowwave.com/. Here are some of my favorites.You can find a full archive here.
I strongly recommend paper version of his comics, Concave Up, his book Dreamtoons (if you order from Jesse directly, he’ll autograph and draw a little picture on the title page.) and an absolutely hilarious little xeroxed pamphlet Applicant. It would not hurt if you wrote to the editor of your favorite paper, and ask for Slow Wave to be in it.