2006'

Sep. 8th, 2014 05:10 pm
Sunday

Communing with the natures. Up, up, and up. Green canopied. Sun shadows. The day was perfect at seventy° and dry. There were three snakes, all of a species, something pretty I don't know the name of. Were they poisonous? Probably not, they're rare round these parts. The first two wanted nothing to do with humans, but number three posed trailside and watched me. Tasted me in the air. Motionless, no not exactly... Intensely still. Purposeful.

Later, sitting on a rock watching mountains. Wondering why faraway things look blue while S. set up shots. Gleam off metal camera casing. Perfect little clicks. If you leave a shutter open too long everything goes white, you know, and this is called exposure.

Peeing in the woods. Scrambling down small cliffs to hide from trail view. Perching over a steep incline and leaning on sun warmed granite. A hornet lands a half foot from, you know, the source, and my fear of splashing myself with urine overcomes my fear of hornets. I remain still. Calm.

Summitting past rusted skeleton tower. Boarded up gray. A ladder begging to maim. Standing before cairn and sign proclaiming elevation. Cliffside, hanging my legs over air. It should be strange to be above trees. I smoke, enjoy it, watch a big blue dragonfly hunt.

Something higher, next time. Feel the need to get well above the tree line. The largest around here is one mile high and there are patches of snow in shadowed ravines through the summer. Not sure if the body could handle it, but I did well with this shorter excursion. Pushed myself. And I'm not sore yet...
Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls


2 p.m.: I sit in my backyard eating a chicken sandwich and sighing tragically after every bite. The sandwich is as cold as the universe. Here's the thing. I don't need to be rich, I just need to make enough money so that I can sometimes eat at one of those places that makes your sandwich hot for you. I don't know why but it seems so hard to make your sandwich hot at home, even though it should be easy.
oh there are things, I'm musing... tasting. Beautiful things that I am too greedy to release into words, yet. Yet. I'll dance with them for you, watch.

<<<


I had a long conversation with Grandma Monday night. She's crafty, that one, enough that even memory loss somehow doesn't dull her at all, no, it sharpens instead. Clears away the baggage of particularity. She knew, of course, without any explicit remark from me... Tangential, sure. But she knew, probably within seconds! It struck me that actually announcing it, some minutes into the conversation, would be jarring- we were already talking about it.

(and see, I have this delusion of grandeur where I'm all unreadable, when I want to be... skimming platitudes with strangers and playing parts for friends... enough that ecstasies, in retrospect, seem the calculated catharses of a steam engine, which, chugging along. Vents.)

This is a sort of politeness. Being crafty enough to see beneath surfaces, yet tactful enough not to point them out- all the while carrying on a conversation that seems to naturally flow towards advice about the unstated... a conversation that would have been exactly the same had I told her outright.

The Old live in a future. Not, the. A future of best case scenarios(in the sense of not-being-dead) brought close to completion. Search for yourself there. No no don't obsess over it- but notice. Say hello. Come back and visit once in a while, in between orgies, you know, if you. Have time.
The World trembles to my sleep silent footsteps. I am shaped like ten thousand heartbeats. You see me in arrhythmic patterns: all your eyes turned to static, all your voices unborn, all your fancy romances all your stubborn forlorn-little faces ground down to pixel perfect
errors
Not in judgment but
discretion.

What am I?

The cognitive dissonance under your bed. The nihilist in your birthday cake. The jeers of your fictional detractors- those imagined enemies whose existence would so validate your self loathing which is, let's face it, the best possible outcome at this point since at least then you'd exist.

And it's pretty. So pretty you see and that brings one a long way in Māyā, in San Francisco and St. Paul or even in Port Richey, Florida, Port Richey where everyone is poor... Even the rich used to be poor, there(there), and it clings to them follows precedes stinking in that way of things, expensive things, things made to look cheap exude cheap classless(low and mean, crass, banal) on purpose. And this, this! A poverty not material but endemic to the human condition. A poverty not spiritual but similarly afflicted with our lack of vision, our stunted imaginations, our deadly little games of limited debate(our peacock displays- and don't we strut... don't we just), this poverty that no amount of currency can alleviate, since, you know, of course of course that currency inevitably creates poverty. That money is a tool for resource extraction(yes, my precious).

Pushing rocks up hills and enjoying the fuck out of it, this, this! Ecstatic banality! This is the heaven they dream of, your sacred souls, your miracle army of selves! They peer behind veils and see only mirrors. A universe of twins pressed face to face, tumbling in comatrance through lightless light.

It has been bottled. Packaged as perfume, refreshing beverage, personal lubricant, antidepressant, shamanic totem, sleeping aid. The Nectar of Endings. The hedonistic revelling in existential futility as highest achievement, sainthood, the immanence of ecstasy as fad diet.
Truth in Advertising.
"Welcome to the World," said the World.
"Welcome to the Beast," said the Beast.

Core Dump

Jul. 23rd, 2014 11:26 pm
meander me molly and the neanderthal monkey wrench duo diving hunchback cape mouthed gape younger mandolin shoelace gumball hieroglyph mascot widdershins dinnerplate fiasco finance reformed masticated blowhards taking transcripts of dumber than thou holyghosts we channel the unseen blankets we safeguard horrors holy tridents akimbo jugular vascular miniscule vestibules raining like moth mouthed manicures take me for a ride sally take me for a ride jenny don't let up the pinch the prowl the leap the howl the warmsaltaste of racing faces melting canopies titan scowls now drooping fallen lost lists of pharaoh's wishes leashes tourniquet mannequin trebuchet popcorn ravished streetcars rabbit ears and lizard tails the wizard's nails the mason's fame framing accolades with lemonade
"Around the world, the generation coming of age in the 2010s is most affected by the legacy of the financial crisis and slow economic growth. In many countries, dramatically high unemployment is frustrating young people’s efforts to earn, generate savings, gain professional experience and build careers. Traditional higher education is ever more expensive and its payoff more doubtful. These issues need to be addressed inclusively on local, national and global levels to minimize the risks of a breakdown in social cohesion and enduring loss of human and economic potential."

Global Risks 2014
Part 2: Risks in Focus:
2.3: Generation Lost?



Let's take this apart just a bit.

Listing consequences of ongoing world financial difficulties especially re: today's youth, chapter titled "Generation Lost?" (Catchy, neh?) The wee pissants can't tie their shoes much less keep a tidy house! Consider, though, historical records displaying the elders of letters disparaging that day's batch of apple cheeked miscreants. Eyebrow raised, and it's not that the idea isn't worth considering, it might be, but please not without at least acknowledging how silly it sounds in proper context.

Low hanging fruit: "traditional education" meaning, I assume, western education systems. Which, while certainly effective in many ways- don't roll your eyes! Think in a broad sense over recent history, a few generations and immense change has been worked(wreaked?) worldwide by getting millions of people to do things they don't want to do in exchange for things they've learned to want- Effective, then, but traditional? A case can be made for some parts of the world, more if time criteria to qualify is shortened and less if played stricter, and... "Around the World" could mean we fly literally around the world and mark the few tiny spots where such traditions are traditional, but surely this around the world stuff isn't meant to mean inclusive, widespread, or historically persistent...

Also. "loss of human and economic potential." Ooh sinister! Here's lovely intro for report... I reccommend, despite my complaints, at least flipping through it to be reminded what a bizarre, terrible, surreal world this is and yet, and yet! Presented with such casual banality, the sort of nightmare that is only a nightmare from outside, that while experienced remains perfectly normal. Only hideous in hindsight.




<<<

And more Sunday fun! Links to PDF.

The making of literate societies - Unesco

Toys!
Swiss Re Risk Window
The fashion over recent years pushing handheld displays to larger and larger dimensions is a red herring. The real breakthrough was and continues to be miniaturization. Of course, modern markets thrive on obscenity, on spectacle and the most banal illusions of acceleration, so of course people walk around with these giant slabs bulging from pockets, pressed to faces, held up to catch the souls of their children at recitals and t-ball and holidays. Imagine going to a Christmas party with one of last year's 4 inch displays! We'd be laughed out of the neighborhood association.

The big screens are a dead end, a brief segue, an anachronism even in the midst of their success.

Spending big money on a huge phone is sort of like buying an 84' black and white CRT television a few days before 4k displays hit the market. The breakthrough here is a flat panel, super HD display that looks more like a window than a screen- a larger black and white image is just an iteration on playing with rocks at this point.

The integration of reasonably functional touch interfaces with personal screens is an important moment in the evolution of our relationship with technology. I suspect it will eventually be looked back on as having similar gravity to the invention of radio and television, if not the printing press.

This may be difficult for many of us to see clearly from inside, but consider:
Sitting next to my keyboard is a small rectangular device I can hold in my hand. It is a computer, self contained, linked to the largest collection of knowledge ever assembled in the history of humanity. This computer is (approximately) fifteen times more powerful(faster, better able to perform calculations, and various other nuanced valuations) than the first desktop machine I had in 1998, which weighed over twenty pounds and cost more than ten times as much. Of course, my teenage IBM was itself a vast improvement over the room sized behemoths that came earlier (punch cards, vacuum tubes, get off my lawn &c.), and home computers have continued to grow enormously in capability- far outstripping my smartphone in terms of raw computing power. But they haven't changed substantively. The handheld touch interface was the biggest change since the advent of the desktop, it's far more important than increases in processor speed or storage capacity. It was one of those charged moments in history: not so much a turning point as a sign post.

Miniaturization isn't exactly the right concept to emphasize here either- it's a symptom of a trajectory and not the trajectory itself.

Think about the word 'interface.'

inter-

— prefix
1. between or among: international
2. together, mutually, or reciprocally: interdependent ; interchange


and

face
-n
8. the main side of an object, building, etc, or the front: the face of a palace ; a cliff face
9. the marked surface of an instrument, esp the dial of a timepiece
10. the functional or working side of an object, as of a tool or playing card


People from my generation and earlier typically interacted physically with computers through peripheral devices: mouse, keyboard, and display(1). Don't forget your monitor, it is just as much an interface device as the other two and even more important: An interface has to work both ways! For many years this was the way of things. Input and output, the game got more efficient, the toys got shinier, but the rules didn't change much.

Until they did.

The first step was the unification of machine and interface. The device and the ways we interact with it became one piece. The screen is now something we manipulate more directly. Miniaturization made this possible, but it was a means to an end.

I used to often say, "The screen is disappearing," meaning that as these devices become smaller and smaller they will eventually be invisible. I've realized over the past few weeks that the statement is doubly inaccurate- it isn't the screen, it's the interface; it isn't disappearing, it's becoming ubiquitous. This is the trajectory I referred to earlier, becoming clearer and clearer as things become smaller... not simply smaller, but complexly smaller- miniaturization allows the screen to become closer and closer. The interface becomes more and more integrated, more intuitive, ubiquitous.

This is not as simple as the scifi VR trope, where in the future we put on goggles or get jacked in and enjoy virtual sexscapades and live the movies and so on. This is not a trajectory towards simulation as recreation, not a trajectory towards the putting on of goggles, not a trajectory of brief excursions into fantasy. While that is coming, it is another sort of red herring like bigger screens or high definition black and white televisions.

This trajectory is not towards putting anything on, but towards the inability to take it off.

And I'm not being, you know, techno fascist apocalypse here. I'm not saying there will be a physical inability to disengage... Any more than there is a physical inability to disengage from any of our sweet modern albatrosses. You don't have to drive a car, or work for The Man, or contribute to slave labor in third world countries. You don't have to eat imitation food and watch bad television every day.

There will be continued iterations, refinements, small changes over the next few years. Our handheld devices will become thinner, foldable, stretchable, disposable. There will be glasses and iterations on glasses(contact lenses, for instance). This is like the 80s and 90s for desktop computers. There will be fads that marketing will tout as the Next Big Thing.

Eventually, step two. The device disappears, becomes disembodied, ethereal. The World becomes the screen, and we ourselves become interfaces- infinitely thin lines barely giving shape to the border between wish and fulfillment.





1. software, operating systems &c. deserve some depth and elaboration here but I'm afraid I'd be tempted to stray too much. And yes, printers and all manner of other things and so on.

2. And speech recognition continues to improve, moving the interface out of the physical realm

problems

Jul. 6th, 2014 07:50 pm
Irreplaceable things and the transitory nature of the world.
To desire not to desire seems a natural inclination. When I discovered that all my discontent- mild or catastrophic, physical or existential- originated in wanting, it seemed to me that it was the wanting itself that was the problem.

Wait, though. What is this desire thing anyway? I'm suspicious of these words I use all the time without realizing how problematic they are to define. I'm suspicious of any smooth explanation that reeks of obfuscated tautology. Desire is the force behind personhood, it is the engine of sentience! ( No wonder I squirm when I ponder, no wonder I moan and gnash my teeth at parties. Me, the little toad with his binocular tongue licking every mirror. Me, the polished till I gleam sycophant. )

I do understand, this business of wanting not to want, and have even felt the pull myself. But I am unruly! I am a beast! I will have this! Including the discontent. The weeks of ennui, even. The pining for... for whatever it is, this Thing manifesting eternally half begun. It's mine.
The place I work for turned our main office into an art gallery for the weekend. We do work dealing mostly with substance abuse/recovery/mental health and the pieces mainly dealt with those issues- sometimes obliquely, sometimes not.

Pics after the cut.

Read more... )
I've watched people be people for however many years and always wondered what it must be like. To be people. I've watched people display individuality as plumage- displays in service to a subtler god than ego. I've wondered. To know all the social answers. To fit... Even when people struggle, they fit! They fit. What is that like? Why is it so alluring?

I am not a snowflake. (Snow is white if and only if snow is white) I am not unique or special(beyond, y'know, we're all just so in our own ways aren't we, precious). It seems highly unlikely that I am much different than most. Statistically, you know...

Given the basic homogeneity of... People. You start to notice, after a while, after a decade or two watching:
People repeat.
Not, phrases, though yes of course that. People themselves. You start to recognize people when meeting them for the first time, noticing the cues, the identity manifesting again- maybe you have names for them-
There aren't that many. Maybe twelve. Maybe a hundred. Not many.

I've suspected that mine must be out there somewhere(and wonder where people place me, which personal category I claim). My clan. I've dreamed of them. Waiting for me. Searching for me. Maybe we are just more elusive, reclusive, less apt to band together, less willing to... Join.

And then. There are these rare individuals, these persons. Who defy categorization. These pillars of self- so often ignorant of their magnificence, their beauty... And maybe that ignorance is a part. I think I would rather bond with these than find any group kinship. I'd rather dive into your depths than share sweet nothings with tribes of shadows.
Irritated:


There seems to be no easy way for me to make phone calls from my apartment. For some reason, some fucked up fateful combination of architecture and magnetic interference, I get no cell reception in here. Nothing. Nada. Sometimes my phone rings- but call is dropped immediately or within seconds. Five steps out my front door? Full bars. Full fucking bars and happy faces and endless phone calls. Well, y'know what, I don't want to have to go outside to order a fucking pizza. Yeah, first world problems, but, fuck that noise.

Oh oh oh hey what about skype?! Everyone uses skype and you can install it on your phone! Right?! RIGHT?!? You can even pay a little bit and use it to call landlines and get a phone number so normal people can call you and everything will just be perfect!!!!

NO. NO NO NO NO. Because, guess what, my bank is BATSHIT INSANE. Yes, I do appreciate fraud protection. It's a great idea in theory. If someone somehow acquires my card # and personal info in, say, Nigeria, or or or Kamchatka for shit's sake, I don't want them ordering 600 pizzas or sex dolls or AK47s or whatever. But. But. But. Is it necessary to shut down my account every time I try to make an international transaction? Did you know that every goddamn vendor seems to run payments through Luxemborg or or or Berne or or or fucking Switzerland for some reason? Does it make them feel suave and debonair to process my debit card payments in Europe? Is there some turtlenecked archvillain expat sipping cappuccino handling my transactions because WHY THE FUCK NOT LET'S INCONVENIENCE EVERYBODY.

So. Yeah.
Every time I've tried to purchase some sort of wifi calling plan it's been denied, and my account gets turned off within seconds. So, call fraud protection, wade through menus, review my past two days of transactions with an agent: Did you purchase gasoline at Mobile Station #digits on street in city at 6:05pm for amount? Yes. Did you purchase food item at Bob's Food Store on date for money in city at time for amount? Yes. Did you pay this bill with this company on this date for this amount? Did you purchase socks at Macy's for this amount on this date? Were they black socks with toe stripes? Are they comfortable? What is the ratio of cotton to polyester? On and on and on and on and on with no way to skip anything and every time I make a joke or go off script even slightly the rep is like: "Sir please answer yes or no so we can verify."

Then on to the bank customer support. Where I, supposedly, can authorize international transactions. But only one at a time, for specific ones. So. Wade through voice menu. Hold. Hold. Hold. Hold. They ask for my account number and oh KEEP IN MIND I'M IN FRONT OF MY BUILDING THIS WHOLE TIME IN THE RAIN BECAUSE DING DING DING DING I CAN'T MAKE CALLS IN MY APARTMENT. "Sir can I have your account number?" "Sorry I don't have it, uh, with me." "No problem! We can verify your identity with just a few(thousand) simple questions. What is your birthday? What is your mothers maiden name? What are the last four digits of your social? How old were you when you first realized most of your life would be spent in a Kafkaesque prison and that the only escape might be death but even then who knows the afterlife could just be an endless succession of hold music alternating with the distant laughter of gray suited bureaucrats...

"Ok sir you should be all set to make that payment!"
"Thanks."
"Would you like to try it now while on the line with us?"
"No I'm sure it's fine... uhm. Yeah."

Enter card number.
...
...
...

We're sorry, this payment could not be processed. Please contact your issuing bank.
I'd like to wander through some of the strange places you've made. I'd like to see what subtle manipulations you've sculpted with that brittle scythe of yours because remember the time? That, that when in which, we. We negotiated frantic truces. We disarmed to the extent that we disrobed. Disregarded. The World, and the Small Things, and even the pushy details.. Those specific executioners, those discrete panics( the uncompromising interruptions of fact: questions, compelling questions )What am I?

What am I to shape The World? Is because I can enough? Is because I have no choice even worded properly? Why does it matter, if it does... And why doesn't it, if it doesn't? Oh spare me the subtleties! Spare me the knives and show me the impending crater, the extinction event played backward and forward and backward and forward and eyes literally, no no I mean figuratively! bleeding in synch with dissonant narration.( it's a lion's voice telling you to bow, a dodo lamenting its demise, a fubu inviting you to taste, a god inflicting you with both divine certainty and doubt- what a twisted scheme! What convoluted creatures develop on their long journey down abyssal gullets. )

The Man, y'know, once protested that I care too much( compelling question )about simulations, about the nooks and crannies of unclean suns. About relevance, instead of tactics. About meaning instead of, for Ah Pook's sweet sake, instead of well. Practice. And I told him

Make perfect amends to imaginary mistakes. Make your friends proud of you, or at least pity you, no I don't mean that. Really. But, if they don't pity at least don't be a bother, don't impose. What I mean is make perfect amends to imaginary mistakes and give yourself to friends. Make yourself laugh at something at least once a day. Be excellent at something at least 3.5 times a day. Anything. Yes, even that.

It's The World that raises compelling questions. And us, trying to answer. Cowered beneath/inside. Answering, and answering, and answering questions not our own.

feed me

May. 15th, 2014 12:42 am
I want the past ten thousand years of printed media in a searchable database, semi-sentient, creative, and eager to answer queries.

How do interpretations of history differ depending on availability of source material? What happens when the problem becomes one of an overabundance of information rather than a scarcity?
"Aren't you afraid of living, y'know, on and on and on?"
"Forever, you mean?"
"No no. Well, sure. But even... say, twenty."
"You're afraid of living for twenty more years?"
"Seems like quite a haul, doesn't it?"
"Eh. I don't mind."
"What am I supposed to do, for twenty years? I mean it can't be just, this, and more this, and so on and so forth until..."
"Until?"
"Exactly!"
"Mm. No?"
"Until what! Exactly, what? More? Or, "Something else," you might insist, which is really just another way of saying more! Until what, then, exactly! What?"
"Die I guess?"
"Right. And then where are we?"
"You're getting a bit metaphysical on m-"
"No no. I mean, it ends up. Being this, and nothing else. Just this."
"Yep."
"You aren't afraid then. Of life."
"Nope."
"Why?"
"Lacking foresight, they said."
"Foresight, eh?"
"Formidable absence, they said. My most exceptional qualities begin where I go missing."
Today I am supposed to go to the bank, shop for food and et ceteras, take S. to look at tennis rackets, clean this pit of obscenities I call an apartment, do laundry, and... something else I'm forgetting.

After a morning spent with spreadsheets and medical billing, reviewing denials from last week, and smoking too much... I think I'll take a shower and put off the rest for tomorrow.

The park across the street is turning green. The weather is nice. I'm worried I'll never amount to anything and disappoint my parents, peers, and President Obama. Today at the donut shop I wanted to tip the donut girls but I never have any cash and they for some reason don't do the tip on card thing. So I'm extra nice to them and try to engage in cleverness- even in my bleary eyed disheveled pre-coffee state. This week I had to tighten my belt a notch because my pants were falling down. Ping pong really does count as exercise. Is this the weekend? Is there a future? I should open a window. I should stick my head out and yell at people not to waste the days like I do, lost in my navel, spiraling round anxieties, praying for distractions, making resolutions just to silence all the nagging voices.
Is The World reducible to some atomic actor? Are there discrete units of measurement, units of potentiality, units numerated by the... a... theory of instrumental reason¹? Are these the fundamentals of manipulation? Current fashion among technocrats to wear determinism like a lei at a wake- either consciously: ironic and shameful-superior, or ignorantly: helpless observers of their innate catastrophe. Do not assume that more complexity will solve anything! Technocrat friends of mine say
"If we only had more data, higher capability, we could figure it out."
And it, of course, of course, means sweet fuck all when examined under such extreme scrutiny- the means developed in the process of trying to answer a difficult question, the means writ singular and ubiquitous across billboard landscapes of culture. (Culture. Culture. You know, you know this word is suspect- that there is a subversion, a doubling and redoubling and it is these words- phrases, turns of- that deserve to be deconstructed at least once a week)
The means supersedes the end. The means supersedes the end and this is important, you know. There is a point where- when-
when efficacy becomes more real than effect
More important or, o-or valid, central to intention, even to the discourse of intention and
Where we vanish- but like a blindspot that's always not been there.
There is more to it than that. Rational contracts, inspired codes, rebellions of the self, and revelation, oh revelation!

I said to the holy one,
"I'd rather jump in a fire than believe."
"Well," the holy one shrugged,
"Either way..."




*It is not because I suck my fingers before typing
¹"We build up an intellect hard enough, as it were, to see through these mystifications. But any intellect that powerful has a tendency to become totalitarian. This is the fundamental problem..."
Rick Roderick, "The Self Under Seige Lecture 4"
Coworker lent this to me today... Loving the concept.




"Suzie, a librarian, and Jon, an actor, meet at a party and, after sleeping together, discover they share the ability to freeze time when they orgasm. As their relationship develops and their sexual histories are explored, they decide to rob the bank where Jon works in order to save Suzie's endangered library."
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