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The Worst, except for all the others

So I went to my district caucus.

Last time I went six years ago there was a lot of debate on which resolutions to advance to the state convention.

So this year, to participate, I brought a resolution to my precinct caucus on lifting the ban on sunday alcohol sales.

I spoke briefly on it, and it got passed.

So I was excited to get the chance to advance my resolution on the district level.

The thing about Sunday sales is people are pretty luke warm on it, so it is a tough sell, but I had this great bit where I talk about how only 11 other states are still clinging to Sunday Sales bans, and they are all weirdo red states like: Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, etc.

People don't care about not being able to buy beer on Sunday, they've gotten used to it, but by framing it as "is MN as regressive as these other states?" people get and respond to that.

So I sat through *three hours* of mostly simple up down voting procedures and overly long candidate speeches from more and more obscure candidates (although Al Franken spoke first, and best).

We finally get to the resolution agenda item, and they go right through it without any debate or discussion. I walk up and awkwardly ask "WTF"? They tell me that the agenda line didn't include discussion or debate on the 100 or some resolutions...

I motion to suspend the rules to allow me to just say a sentence or two. Suspending the rules takes 2/3 rds vote, which I do not get, because it is 3 hours in and people are already regretting their decision to come.

I leave, really angry and frustrated. I had been practicing that speech in my head for the last month, refining the points, honing sentences. Now it just felt like I was a dumb, idealistic kid who thought he could participate.

Worse, I wasted three hours of time being bored. My free time is incredibly scarse. To have gambled so much and lost it all felt like I had bet the month's rent on red and lost.

At one point during the intro, the guy mentioned explicitly "We need to get more young people in here if we want this to continue". "Look around, if you don't bring in people to replace you, nobody will".

And he was right, candidates children aside, I was likely one of the five youngest voting members there.

The problem is, caring about politics has pretty low returns.

Logic Against Humanity

The above is the loot I received from solving the penultimate puzzle from Cards Against Humanity's recent holiday promotion.

If you don't know what Cards Against Humanity is, it is an adult-oriented version of Apples to Apples that is very popular with young people. The first time I played it with my friends, I was sore for a week from how much belly laughing it induced.

The presents were mostly additional holiday themed cards for their game.

More interestingly (to me) the first day contained a simple caesar cipher that translated into "DO NOT THROW AWAY ANYTHING WE SEND YOU", the first step of the puzzle.

I originally had all the steps myself and others in the community took to solve the puzzle. But honestly, it became so esoteric and detailed that I deleted it. If you want to know the specifics ask me sometime.

Here's the executive summary:

During this whole process I was particpating in an ad hoc community of people who had opt'd into the puzzle and were trying to solve it.

I'm still rough around the edges when working with teams, but I've gotten better. One thing I noticed about this type of team though, was the effect of negative evidence on other's enthusiasm and participation.

At work, where the participants labor is static and participation is enforced by necessity of health care and rent money, it is important to avoid wasted effort by stopping inefficient ideas and projects before they start.

Whereas in a less formal community, proving that someone is wasting their time, is not necessarily helpful.

For instance, I remember one participant had a lot of good ideas and had found some promising things by anagraming the first clue above "DO NOT THROW AWAY ANYTHING WE SEND YOU". The problem with his method was he was looking for keywords and letting computers generate english sentences around that.

Which can seem like a perfectly good idea, unless you look at the math behind it and realize that there are close to hundreds of thousands of english phrases that can be anagramed from that large a domain of letters.

Anyway, I said as much, showed my work in a respectful and even apologetic tone. He agreed with me, and I never saw him participate again... Before that, he had several theories fizzle out on their own.

It made me begin to realize that unlike at work, these people were all particpating out of enthusiasm, and that explicity slaying the current object of their enthusiasm did not seem to redirect their enthusiasm, but rather slay it entirely.

Enthusiastic Monkey Typewriter Power rather than Combined Logical Concensus.

Although, I'm not sure if Enthusiasm was the proper term for my motivation. More accurately, unsolved puzzles just bug me. Is it still unsolved because of how hard it is or of how inadequate at solving puzzles I am? Only one way to find out...

It is not a healthy thing, but has helped me at work. I like solving problems for people, but if it was ever a choice between helping people and solving an interesting puzzle... Let's say I'd jump head first down that slippery slope towards supervillan any day.

Hatchet Job

So I've shown my son the original Star Wars trilogy, and am wondering what to do about the prequels. I read about "Hatchet Order" which recommends just showing II and III (skipping I entirely).

So I decided to screen II before to see if it is appropriate for my son, here are some of my notes taken while watching the second prequel movie:

Oh wow, it is named "Attack of the Clones", I forgot about that. I remember hearing that was the title and believing it was some sort of mistake until I actually saw it on the big screen.

Second words of the scroll "There is unrest in the Galactic Senate", now I remember why I never bothered rewatching this...

I honestly don't even know if this is the one where Obiwan rides a climbing lizard for like an hour.

The opening shots seem too slick, no grit, Amedala's transport coming in through the clouds looks like a shot out of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow."

First thing that happens is her ship lands, than explodes seemingly *from the inside*. You know a more dangerous place to blow up a ship? When it is still in space.

We're supposed to be shocked, except that Lucas forgot to humanize the people on the ship before exploding them to death.

Next scene, Jedis sitting in a meeting with Palpatine, I'm already bored. I keep expecting Mace Windu to say "but Emperor, please look at this powerpoint I made about how there aren't enough Jedis to protect The Republic".

In an elevator, Anakin reminds us it has been ten years, despite nobody other than Anakin looking different.

Now we have a weird horror movie scene with poisonous cenepedes being released into a dark room where Amedala is sleeping. Seems utterly foreign to the original film's vocabulary.

Then Obiwan dives out a window at a drone. Exciting Fifth Element hover chase scene ensues. If you don't like it, don't worry, there is a very similar one in the next movie.

Guh, the scene is still going on, and making less sense as it does. All told it is about a 7 minute, frenetic action scene, or about two music videos in length.

They are in a bar now, and while there are some fun callbacks Mos Eisley, the plot makes no sense. The changeling assassin, instead of disappearing into the crowd, decides to try to sneak up and attempt to publicly murder one of the two Jedis.

Amedala puts Jar Jar in charge, illustrating the same judgement she uses when she falls in love for Anakin.

All of Hayden Christensen's lines so far are delivered flat, regardless of if he is telling a joke, angry or being petulant.

The planet has been removed from the archives, when asked Yoda says "only a Jedi could have deleted it", apparently the Archive is like wikipedia, except without the edit history enabled.

Amedala safely returns to Naboo without advancing the plot. She is regaling us with Naboo's electorial process. Apparently Queens are elected and have term limits, and Galactic Senators are appointed?

The clones are revealed, as are tall aliens who only speak in exposition.

We check back and Anakin and Amedala are kissing for no good reason. Amedala's small talk: "I like the Water"; Later Anakin: "I hate Sand".

Now they're on Tantooine, Anakin rescues his kidnapped and tortured mother, who immediately dies in his arms.

Video game style Droid factory scene, I give up, can't watch this crap.

This is not a Star Wars movie, it is a disposable, forgettable ten year old movie where people incorrectly stare in the direction of annoying CGI characters and akwardly attempt to mime eating CGI food.