OM105 - Qibla

Elliott Smith (OM105)

They talk about the Coldplay album X&Y and about Elliott Smith’s suicidal album XO. He died by stabbing himself in the chest 22 times. Ken was at his last show, a free "Welcome Back to Campus!" thing at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. John saw him a lot including all the way back when people used to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor at The Crocodile. The last time he saw him was at The Showbox and it was a bad deal where the whole audience was sitting there quietly while he was nodding off on stage. It wasn’t cute. John and his girlfriend at the time were big fans and they just looked at each other and wanted to get out of there.

The legal policy of Uber (OM105)

John has some first-hand experience with Uber Corporate because a friend of Millennial Girlfriend was a lawyer there (see RL308). She was very secretive about the policies and every time you would edge anywhere close to Uber she would act like there was an NDA that prohibited her from saying anything. She was loyal to the company, she liked playing spy-games and she had a real cloak-and-dagger personality. Nevertheless, she broadly implied often enough that Uber’s corporate legal policy was not to use their team of high-powered lawyers to be in compliance with the law, but to violate the law and use their lawyers to obfuscate their violation long enough to go to court and fight the penalty.

All their problems were labor problems and their exit-strategy was their vision about self-driving cars that would remove drivers from the equation. Their front-facing policy is that they are pro-driver, but they are not at all. Their goal is to stay in business and monopolize the space, so that when self-driving cars arrive Uber will be the industry standard.

Taking your kid out of school (OM105)

It would be no problem for John to take his daughter out of school for a week-long trip to go to Europe, because she is only in 2nd grade. Ken had to write an Alphabet book about his travel to be allowed to take his Sophomore out.

John at a festival in Transylvania (OM105)

One time John was at a festival in the mountains of Transylvania. His white steed had dropped him off down the hill from Dracula’s castle and she got a little confused. In a church outside of Gherla in Romania there was a beautiful icon painted in an orthodox painting tradition, a little moon-faced virgin with a moon-faced Jesus, that had come down from heaven and had been discovered by a shepherd. It was sitting on a rock on the top of the hill and they built a church around it.

During the festival the penitents crawl on hands and knees around the church 100 times for 4 straight days, which was extraordinary to watch. A lot of them were little old ladies who were crawling until their knees were bleeding. John was this dude from America who was just standing back and didn't understand at all what was happening, but joining in would have been worse and John did the most sensitive thing. The air was redolent with incense! John went into the church and spent some time with the icon, trying to see if he could get any sense of what God’s intention was.

During that part of his life, John spent a lot of time going ”God? If you are listening, It’s me, Margaret! What is going on? What is your plan for me?” But he/she/it never directly communicated with John. God probably gave John a sign multiple times in that God did not strike him down and at no point along the way did he die, but he also never got some kind of dream or apparition appearing on the trail and he never got a "Mean" Joe Greene pat on the butt. God remained in puzzling silence. If God was interested in killing John, God has passed up a lot of great opportunities.

Other random bits (OM105)

John does not use the Mercator Projection and there are no Mercator Projections in John’s house although there are thousands of maps. In the future, all maps will be oriented to Antarctica and making Greenland look huge might be a feature.

John was King Neptune, the patron saint of horses.

John mentions his theory about the woofers and the tweeters (see OM99).

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