Monday 22 November 1999

Civ2 screenshot

Pic of the day: OK, I guess it's time to confess. I've been on a few days Civ2 binge again. The great and glorious civilization of the Pietists is friendly with everybody, but I bet that won't last long when we build the Apollo program really soon now...


Tonight I dreamt that I could teleport: Move from one place to another without travelling the distance between. This is not the first time I dream that (nor am I the only one, surely). The special thing tonight is that I had difficulties doing so. I turned my mind inward and set up the pattern of brainwaves that should trigger it, but it eluded me. Like a short wave radio on a bad day, I was where the station should be but there was just static. I felt around inside, the way you try to very carefully adjust your tuner, and after a few minutes (dream time) it just clicked. This happened all three times I teleported.


I woke up to the sound of the clock radio playing some pacifist song from the seventies. Mind you, I have nothing against pacifism. I personally refused to do army service, and instead was "sentenced" to a somewhat humiliating but harmless work at a home for alcohol abusers. I don't complain ... on the contrary, I wish these alternate work projects were harsher. There were some that could hardly be seen as anything other than dodgers.

In retrospect, I have to admit that the reason for my pacifism largely was the amount of hate still inside me at the time. If I had accepted violence as a valid solution, and had my conscience blunted, there might have been a carnage like in a cheap movie. There were a number of people who would have figured way higher on my liquidation list than Russian pawns. For years, until I was around 30, I had recurring night dreams about killing people. The weapons varied from cannon to firearms to axe to knife to stones to bare hands. This coincided with a time in my life when I tried to think of myself as particularly holy, which could have something to do with it. The darker the shadow.

But about this particular pacifist song, what irks me is that it tries to ride two horses at the same time. On one hand, it exhorts the listener to put the guns down. On the other hand, it argues forcefully against dictatorship. But it makes no attempt to reconcile the two. The song is in Norwegian, and Norway was not a military dictatorship. On the contrary, the Norwegian military was a defense against our nearby less than democratic superpower. There is no reason to think that the citizens would sleep more safely without it.

That is not to say that a non-violent defense is impossible. There are theories on this, based partly on the experience of Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent liberation movement. One can also point out that the eventual fall of the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe mainly happened through concerted civil disobedience rather than a conventional civil war - much less an invasion from the democratic West. And I've noticed that in Latin America there is one nation without a standing army at all. Costa Rica may or may not be an attractive piece of land to occupy, what do I know, but it lies in a part of the world that is hardly famous for its lack of dictatorships.


In unrelated news, I got back the results from the blood & heart check. The numbers are reasonably good. I'm a bit overweight; not sure how well this shows. It is not impressive, but I can see it and it did show up on the scales. On the bright side, blood pressure was just beautiful, blood sugar was surprisingly low given that I had not been instructed to avoid eating beforehand. It seems that my body handles sugar quite nicely. (Good thing too, since I eat quite a bit of it.) And despite my overweight (and the eating, I guess) the cholesterol level was acceptable. In short, it tentatively seems that I may have inherited some good genes. But I could lose a few pounds without anyone complaining, I guess.


Finally, Superwoman called this evening. She had trouble with the e-mail program, as it had no "send" button. She tried another that she found on the machine. This mail actually arrived - but its sender was "Magnus Itland" < >... Oops, seems I have not cleaned the machine as thoroughly as I hoped. Oh. Oh. Perhaps I should have formatted the hard disk after all...

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