Important Anniversary Today

Noticing that the date had changed here in the Eastern Time Zone, 9AM will mark an important anniversary.

Of course, I refer to my Four-year anniversary as an employee of Forum One.

What, you think I meant something else?

Well, at least this isn’t as awkward as my first anniversary when the boss congratulated me on the way to the local pub to see our first TV images from the day.

“Uhh…thanks…” was all I could manage at that one.

Today it was much easier, as it was commented on the day before the anniversary, and I think the last two anniversaries of 9/11/01 have gotten most of the memorializing out of people.

This, I think, is a good thing. Americans don’t do well when we dwell on the past overmuch. Just look at…well, the entire American South for a textbook example. In fact, I’m not sure anybody does that well–Serbia still celebrates a great defeat on the battlefield from 500 years ago…and since the battlefield happens to be in Kosovo, that was an almost direct cause of the horrors of Bill Clinton’s brush with unilateralism in the 90s.

I don’t want to become Serbia–which is one reason I’m not sure I like the World War II memorial in the middle of the Mall in Washington, DC. We should remember our wars but not wallow in them.

However, that doesn’t seem likely, given John “I served in Viet Nam!” Kerry and George “Iraq is not Viet Nam!” Bush and the Swiftboat Vets and the Memos that may be 30 years or 30 days old.

Of course, the latest memo looks especially damning, though experts have some doubts about the letter spacing.

Anyway, happy anniversary to Oscar and myself, the lone survivors of the four who joined that day. We will po’ a fo’ty on da groun’ fo’ our fallen homiez.

Syntax from my Breadgiver

Or Word from the Paycheck.

Oscar beat me to the punch, but Syntax CMS 1.1 is out.

This includes some nifty code from me that required a database upgrade (content items can now be featured on one section while displayed as regular content on another–and the system can be expanded to define other “publishing modes” beyond regular and featured), hence the .1 version number.

Oscar also sped up things significantly, particularly in the admin tool. There are also some further refinements to permissions. They’re reflected all over the admin tool–datatype-level and object-level.

Of course, I found a couple of bugs today right after the release, so at some point soon I’ll have those in CVS for the .1 release. However, they’re not really show-stoppers.

Yes and Regret, but mainly Yes

So I saw Yes in Allentown, PA on Friday night, and I loved the concert. It included some of the best lick-trading I’ve ever heard from any band in any genre between Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman.

However, as I went to write a post to crow about it, I looked up the set lists on Forgotten Yesterdays, a fan site that tracks the set lists of every venue the band has ever played. When I bought the Allentown tickets, it was the closest venue to DC.

Of course, I found out that they played the Nissan Pavilion just a few days earlier, and they played some songs I’ve never heard the band play, especially not in the classic configuration they’re in now (same as recorded Tales from Topographic Oceans and Going for the One). On the other hand I wouldn’t have heard the aforementioned lick-trading on their cover of Paul Simon’s America, though I heard this lineup play that in 2002.

On the other hand, I’ve heard Steve Howe play The Clap before, and I really don’t care if I hear this bunch play Owner of a Lonely Heart, though it would have been interesting. Hopefully I’ll run across a bootleg, the phenomenon to which the concert program was a paean.

I do regret not having heard this bunch do Close to the Edge, though again I heard 4/5ths of this lineup play that in 2000. I also wish they’d played their cover of Every Little Thing, as I generally like Beatles tunes when played by anybody but the Beatles.

On the plus side, I finally got to hear this lineup play Roundabout, which, as Jack Black noted, has the best organ solo ever…with Karn Evil 9, First Impression, Part 2 being a close second. But I didn’t get to hear Long Distance Runaround.

One thing this concert had which no other I’ve been to (I’ve been to six now, from February 2, 1988 to the present) has had: a Roger Dean stage design. This was inflatable, for shipping and cost reasons, the program said. There were pipe-organ like structures behind Rick, automated drums around Alan, something very like the tree-like structures from Steve’s solo album Beginnings behind him, and a spider/manta ray/bird thing above Jon and Chris. Very trippy and cool, in white with black and grey accents. The bird thing flapped during Awaken, if I recall correctly. Or possibly it was trying to eat Jon. Either way, it moved in time with the music. Chris whipped out his Spinal Tap-like three-necked guitar (guitar, bass, and fretless bass) for Awaken.

All in all, I had a wonderful time, and Yes proved that at age 60, which Jon Anderson turns this year (impossible to believe, he still moves around like an elf with the enthusiasm of a hippy kid), they can still produce incredible, energetic music.

Update: Forgot to mention, Dream Theater opened. I hit traffic and only got to hear the last few songs of their set. It was OK, but for whatever reason, they have never thrilled me much. A little too much high school metal band self-seriousness, not enough prog beyond “look at our cool licks and unison lines,” and definitely not enough successful metal rebellion/fun.

However, they’re still better than 99% of what’s on the radio. But then I don’t listen to the radio, either.

Firefly and Legalized Prostitution

I’ve been watching Joss Whedon’s (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) short-lived science fiction Western Firefly, thanks to Corey. First of all, I’m not sure why I didn’t “get it” when I first tried watching it. Well, maybe I am sure:

  1. I wasn’t a Buffy fan yet, so I didn’t know Joss Whedon from a hole in the ground. Therefore, I had little trust in a “Sci-Fi Western” coming from Fox. What can I say? After Berman et. al. running Star Trek into a deep dank hole in the ground, I’m a cynical bastard. And it takes trust to give a new show time.
  2. And Firefly really needed time, as some early episodes were kind of slow (I saw “Bushwhacked” initially, then saw the pilot later on).
  3. Of course, the song was just a trifle corny. I will get vehement disagreement on this point, but I think that could have been solved by doing a cool instrumental version for the opening credits and doing the vocal version on the end credits–at least for season 1.
  4. The time it was on was terrible, especially since I had a girlfriend at the time and was out during the regular time.
  5. Sci-Fi Western–it’s a dangerous concept, because it requires somebody skilled at worldbuilding to bring it off. See point 1.

All that being said, get it on DVD and see the upcoming movie version. Especially on DVD, you can give it more time without getting bored at the commercials.

All that is a warm-up to the topic it got me thinking about: legalized prostitution.


In the show, the crew of Serenity have a “Companion” on board, who is something like a geisha in Japan: much more than just a prostitute, though she is that as well. She has high status in society and commands respect from most of the hoi polloi, but at the same time the captain of the ship (who has a thing for her he won’t admit to, and she has a thing for him she won’t admit to, wackiness ensues) will use the word “whore” casually to level the social playing field, particularly when he’s feeling jealous.

But the Companion belongs to a guild with strict rules, screens her clients carefully, and is a true escort and social companion–witty, erudite, a great counselor and conversationalist–in addition to a provider of sex. Still, some of her clients inevitably look down on her. Others want to take her away from all that–but she really doesn’t want to leave.

Of course, just as in Japan, there are regular prostitutes in this Westerworld of the future. Some are struggling for respect, others wallow in the disrepute. Some are cast out of the Companion Guild, others are just regular ol’ workin’ girls (and boys, natch).

One of the conflicts set up in the show is the aforementioned romantic tension between the captain and the Companion. When the captain spends the night (his first in a loooooong time) with an ex-Companion friend of the Companion on his ship, the Companion cries out of a feeling of–hurt? jealousy?–but makes a brave face about it and claims a healthy attitude toward sex, free from jealousy. The captain, for his part, resisted initially but gave in, possibly through projection of his desire for the Companion on this ex-Companion.

So that brings to mind a number of thoughts–if you are still reading, click below to see them.

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