Commuting life: the Caltrain to Palo Alto

Secret Hitler, Frozen Yoghurt, Psychonaut Librarians

Cross-checking Article V

Cross-checking Article V

Did you know that there are two things which cannot be amended in the US Constitution via the usual amendment process? I did, because it came up in The Federalist Papers, and now Todd does too, because I quizzed him on it after he presented me with a pocket copy sometime after Shake Shack on a classy Friday night. One is that the importation of slaves cannot be banned until 1808, which should give pause to anyone trusting in its timeless wisdom. The other is that states cannot be deprived of equal representation in the Senate without their consent.

As far as I can see, there’s nothing to stop you just amending the amendment process itself to remove these restrictions, although at that point it might be quicker and cheaper to just invoke the ‘self-evident’ right of ‘the People’ to ‘alter or abolish’ any government which becomes destructive to their life, liberty or ‘pursuit of happiness’.

If you think this reads a bit silly, and leaves out important practical questions like “well does the government have a lot of tanks at its disposal to crush me with?” and “wait, which people exactly count as the People and who decides that?” then congratulations, you have successfully problematised the Declaration of Independence. You also might be the kind of person who enjoys playing Secret Hitler, an excellent bluffing game which Jason funded way back when on Kickstarter and has finally arrived in our lives in a fancy wooden box. Most players are liberals but some are secretly fascists, and their aim is to manipulate the others into enacting fascist policies and electing Hitler as Chancellor. As I say, it’s great, and their website also has an appropriate level of snark:

Hah.

Hah.

Commuting life: the Caltrain to Palo Alto

Commuting life: the Caltrain to Palo Alto

Anyway…. apart from playing board games (7 Wonders! Dominion! Carcassonne, obviously!) and setting up a special mailbox in Germany to forward limited-edition Carcassonne tiles from eBay.de to myself (the less said about this the better) I also spent a week this month working out of the Palo Alto office. Rather than staying in Palo Alto itself, which does have a certain logic behind it, I decided to commute on the Caltrain from San Francisco each day. This came at the cost of early mornings but was otherwise a great move, both because it made an excellent reading time and because I could hang out in San Francisco with both Nolan and Jamie on various evenings after work. (And to see Nolan convene a deputation to the office’s ever-changing frozen yoghurt selection is to watch real leadership in action.)

Jamie kindly shared the last jelly doughnut

Jamie kindly shared the last jelly doughnut

Finally, in Chicago I had a good night out with new colleagues Arpan, Pedro, Ibs and Joey and also saw Psychonaut Librarians with Randi at our favourite theatre. It’s about… a group of librarians who must venture into the magical Anyverse, defeat the Sandman and bring a girl and a sort-of-boy-but-not-really-a-person together? Yes, this one was a little too absurdist to be one of my favourites (years and years ago I read a review of a particularly surreal episode of The Prisoner on this topic which stuck with me), but the characters were engaging and it was enjoyable to whizz through.

Last word to the jelly doughnut.

Randi Lawrence, Gillian Self, Abigail Osbiston, Deborah Herrick liked this post

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Secret Hitler, Frozen Yoghurt, Psychonaut Librarians

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