Sunday, January 24, 2016

Post Haste

No, I don't really do this much anymore. I've lost the sense of anything to say.

This morning, having fallen behind on my email sweep, catching back up to my Netflix queue to be sure that I don't miss the chance to be entertained properly, noticing along the way that Stephen Hawking - very old news this - predicts some kind of perfect storm apocalypse thing, and not really caring to take the time to see if that's because of some artificial intelligence explosion, which I semi-gather he's against, or if it's just his joining in to the general malaise about our future. Wait! Did I lose my thread there?

It's just hard to believe that my email capacity for free storage will not catch up with itself sometime, and then I'll lose all the good stuff; those emails traded with actual friends which I sometimes re-read after a failed e-mail search and find myself sometimes refreshed, sometimes embarrassed. It's only a little more likely than to dig into that shoebox of old letters from girlfriends, but still, it's hard to just throw them out, you know?

It would have to be a law of nature that the quantity of SPAM, so called, collectively will overwhelm the free capacity so that I can be discouraged from deletion so that the AI monitors can see what are my marketable characteristics for the targeting of, well, more SPAM.

I know that there are AI algorithms which can and likely do reduce the actual storage space required for SPAM which goes out to the entire cosmos of inboxes to just one single e-mail note as if to one single inbox alone. Trivial! Even when it's personalized with my name on it, that's almost nothing.

But really I only spend a scant bit more time to keep up with this matter of personal responsibility than I do to check up on the snowstorm I missed because my smartphone reduces me to my local footprint of care, and I no longer watch TV. A friend was supposed to visit for a ski outing, and  I had no clue that he would be socked in down in NYC. What rock do I love (sick typo) under!?

Well, I mean, I don't really give a damn about the weather, mostly looking to be sure that there hasn't been another trade-center collapse equivalence, or nuclear lobbing or do I mean lobbying, but in any case there was at least a near miss, and I pass that one by on my way to my actual goal which is to spend some time reading an actual book. Sometimes it's just really hard to keep ones focus! And I still haven't gotten there, because I just care so much for you, dear reader in my dreams.

But since the book I'm reading - The Three Body Problem - is really hard in its original Chinese, I sometimes have to take a break from that to read a different book in English, which is pretty much like a glide down the bunny slope, and so of all things I did a quick read from a pdf even though I could have bought it on iTunes for $10, but I'd rather spend my $10 for a feature film to treat myself once in a while; I did a quick read of Bucky Fuller's Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which really everyone should read at least a few times in their (politically corrected) life.

This time around it was a bit disappointing, since he seemed to be pointing in the direction of what those Lord of the Flies evil kidlets at Google seem to want, adopting as their elder guru a crazy man, Ray Kurzweil, who's hardly scared of any stinkin' AI apocalypse, saying essentially "bring it on" because I'm going to live forever and so can you. Maybe. If you have the price for admission, right? I'm just still wary that Google may go out of business, delete delete so I can archive locally, delete. I can't keep up, and I still don't trust the AI, quite, delete.

But sure by that time storage will be totally, like, infinite, man, and totally free (does that mean ad-free too?). But they've been saying that since about forever regarding time, as in technological progress will erase scarcity and nobody will have to work anymore and our time will be our own, just like I can write endless emails without any postage except that if I write more than a screenfull not even my very best friends or even lovers (which I hardly bother with any more if you want to know the truth) can be bothered to read them. (So, I'm forced to bother you here!) It's the rhetoric which has changed, right along with the medium. Dear Mom . . . . I used to write. I can't be bothered even to call, and she can't write back anymore anyhow. Messaging is all we've got in the new media. Content. Empty.

Anyhow that was Bucky's point. That our "metaphysical" prowess will ultimately learn to leverage free solar energy and negate the necessity to despoil the planet by dirty extraction of our egg-white stored-up get-baby-started cache, which is fossil fuel. That's his metaphor, that mankind via the technology of the written word has only this very second cracked open our shell, but also that we have nearly exhausted the free ride our egg gave us while we learn to feed ourselves, except where's Mommy??

I was disillusioned to learn that Bucky himself probably invented the story of his near-suicide (this was some quick side-reading on Wikipedia) and how he calculated that in the broad infinite universe his wisdom was but tinier than a mite and how could he be so bold as to pronounce himself dead, so why not throw himself to the fates, which he did to great effect and so I must forgive him his narrative invention, apparently, of a voice from the blue. Yeah, I know, like why was it a male voice, right? Daddy never suckled us! Daddy taught us how to hunt eventually, but that was after we grew up already, and according to this particular story - Bucky's - we have yet to grow up, and so we have no business hunting! We can't be trusted with the Big Tool, by which he meant the bomb I think.

I don't know which part disillusioned me more, but in any case Bucky was pretty clear about how the pirates have occupied the board rooms, the controller cockpits of our spaceship earth, and I don't want to bore you about what he means by pirates since you really should read it for yourself. But in any case, those on the Bridge - as Star Trek used to call it - who are not the government officials who are beholden actually to them, these pirates; Bucky is clear that what they mostly do is figure out how to create more want, the illusion of scarcity in the midst of actual plenty.

Once you create more want, the rest is trivial which means calibrating the cost to stay out of the cold as just a smidge this side of terroristic, and certainly the cost to eat above the obesity diabetes level as blatantly terroristic, but with the price of oil incredibly dropping because keeping you on the move is the most critical piece. You have to be able to get to where you want to be, and it has to be not here! And you have to feel yourself too stupid actually, to be worth more than Wal-Mart, or was it Wall-E wages.

It's 7 degrees outside, alright? and I'm pretty happy just now to stay right here, and not so sure I would have wanted to ski anyhow, it's being quite this cold, although I did buy a nice new red ski parka which promises true warmth, hi tech warmth. I can't wear it though because once when I was a little boy and Mommy bought me a new red hat, I stuck my head out the car window just for the thrill of it and to copy my older brother who stuck his green one out, but mine flew off my head and down over the fence of the terrifying Skyway Bridge and gone forever and really I never did feel comfortable on that bridge, a kind of vertigo in my dreams.

I'm keeping it for inside use because it just costs too much to heat this place - OK, no I'm lying. My heat is included in the rent, yipeee, free ride, whooeeeeeeeeee! Calibrated 30% of income, and I'm on the high end of the denizens of this place.


Anyhow, the problem is apparently not how "metaphysically" clever we might be or might become because it's clear we've already figured out these technological tricks - these tools as extensions of our highly generalized capacity to leverage and solve problems in the physical world - way beyond even Bucky's imaginings, although he was pretty spot-on. He imagined the technology, but he also imagined that our use of it would be still that much more advanced into the realm of giving an actual damn.

The problem is how to get the pirates out of the boardroom. (Hint: Donald Trump is the embodiment of the pirate. You're forgiven if you cheer him on. We've been taught that way according to a highly elaborated curriculum.)

Part of the problem is that we've been tricked into believing that specialisation - divide and conquer basically - is the only way to get things done, when actually the most human thing about us is that we are generalists who can - by means of tool extensions to our interface with the world around and about us - specialize as need be and as circumstance requires it, but that our evolutionary survival as the fittest has been a generalists' proposition. The written word is restricted from no-one except as schooling makes it so, right? (Sorry, brief editorial comment)

(It's sunny now, I might lose interest and go skiing, sorry. Or perhaps you cheer me on?)

Anyhow, those boardroom pirates are just having a grand old time acting as though they could live forever in the sense that there is no house - nor number of houses - big enough, nor plane extravagant enough nor yacht gilded enough, nor fear of actual death and demise sublimated enough to keep them from their want of power.

I know, I know, that they must feel that they are protecting us from our benighted selfish and stupid selves, since they have proven to have so much more capacity to fulfil want, to amass wealth, to take the controls, Scotty, which god knows I haven't any clue about how to do.

Feel the Bern, feel the Bern, feel the Bern (advertising insert)

You see this endless snowball avalanche effect, right? Want building on want and it all goes back to Mommy's nipples, right? You still can't find them on TV, and the only really dirty word is cunt now, which yes it really should be, but, what, really? I mean really!

Nobody really thinks that war-machines are beautiful. Well, OK, I guess I do, in the abstract Star Wars sense of them. But in the particular, it seems an abomination and an atrocity of the first order that we build so many of them and still further that we sell them to the highest bidder, pirates as buyers and sellers both. Bucky talks a lot about that, and about how it's only at war that we ever have apparently infinite resources, but how we must scrimp and save and cut corners for education (schooling is in fine shape as a share of GDP), or at least keep it scarce by siphoning off the good stuff to those who wish to specialize to some artificial degree of separation from the rest of us though ironically we brand them as generally "excellent" or having special needs, generally speaking, and so the perfect becomes yet again the enemy of the good.

War as a concentrator of wealth. Technology as a concentrator of wealth. This is not what Bucky meant by the metaphysical trumping the real, for goodness sake. This is piracy!

But war does breed - and in this Bucky is at his best - the actual progress in technological development which can hold the keys to our survival. Well, except that he didn't quite anticipate perpetual war and its attendant terror which is meant to keep us all indoors, glued to the screen, glad we're not black or over there. Hmmmmmmm.

No, really the key is to get the pirates out of the control room. . .

As a kid, I already thought that the metaphor of  "spaceship earth" was wrong. It's the metaphor of the control room that's wrong. It doesn't matter who's in the control room, because Mother Earth is driving this thing, right? I want to stop saying Bucky, but I can't, sorry, but anyhow, Bucky was writing at about the same time as Rachel Carson (who manages to show up in just about every single piece of Chinese science fiction, although she's disappeared from our radar - it's funny how far afield you sometimes have to go to be reminded of your own roots. I don't think Buckminster Fuller is even on the Chinese radar at all, so far as I can tell. Too cranky? OK, wrong again, I just checked Chinese Wikipedia, he's there), and being a man maybe he was just a little bit over-impressed with his own engineering prowess.

See the egg thing was just a metaphor. Earth is not the egg. Or maybe Earth is the egg and the mother is "out there." But the point is that life as in the Star Wars Life Force (what a retro bore that new one was, a blatant, though really really good, marketing machine . . . ), but not really because that was still all about warships, in any case as in life is more powerful than these pirates. Well, sure they're going to die, the individual blackguards, but I mean the piracy movement. Life is more powerful than that too.

Which is pretty much why I've had to auto-delete all the political SPAM (you thought I'd already forgotten where I started with all this, right?), and I'm certainly not about to give my marginal living costs away as though I could make any difference to the political process (Sorry Bernie, and screw you Hillary, no wait, I love you Hillary, no wait, um, I just wish you were a little more maternal is all, but I didn't mean it. Honest!).

Want and fear, want and fear, and that's what I want to get away from. I want I want I want.

The sun is still rising. Fahrenheit exaggerated negativity approaches Celsius moderation or what's a meta for? Meme. Whatever.

I find extravagant hope in absence. The only thing absent is a loving "other," and I don't mean that space filled-in by that abomination of language, "God." The name that can be named is not the eternal name, say those clever and exam-and-rule-gaming Chinese. They do this by peculiar ambiguity of language. "The Dao that can be Daoed is not the eternal Dao" or the Way that can be Followed, or maybe "eternal" could mean "popular" or even "common," except that would be to exchange modern for archaic, which sometimes seems like a not-bad notion.

"God the Father" is so clearly the pirates' work, the patriarchy, the warriors, the control freaks, the wanters after nipples. God the Mother makes a bad trade-off.

Alright, look, I really don't want to go skiing because it just hurts. I'm old, I lack muscle tone, I don't feel like paying stupid amounts of money for goggles or a face-mask and it just hurts, OK? I'm going because I feel like I ought to go, like eating broccoli if it weren't produced by slave labor, more like eating from the life-sustaining golden harvest organic locally sourced foodie store, except I honestly can't afford to go there, and I'm not even poor or black.

I can talk all I want about the gas I'll burn to get there, but I know I need the exercise, I know, but truth be told I'd really rather just eat and drink and die however I feel like it, OK? I want someone else to take care of the externalities for me, OK, like maybe we could all just take a bus, OK, and sit by the fire and not be crowded out by too much noise, OK?

I know I know, it's because all I would want to do is eat and drink and maybe be a little bit merry that I have to be regulated and controlled and kept on a leash of salary and benefits, and a ski pass, OK, I know. I like to work, I do, but sometimes I do resent the compulsion to it. I want to want to ski, you know, but then I want to be young again too and know what to do about it, OK?

Where was I?

Mother dearest, She who is just there or you would not be here, and then you must push her away and she will be just fine with that. Not the Earth, certainly, who is kicking up quite a ruckus really, as in pushing us away for the stink of rotten egg, not some civilization from some other planet since the universal laws militate against our incremental chances to be in touch within Einsteinian limits not that nobodaddy's out there, I mean He most certainly is, according to the laws of probability, but he would need a mother too.

Let's call it Cosmos then, Mother Cosmos, She of the extravagant preparing of this field for implantation, accidental birth, gift of oil for the taking gathered up from sunlight by virtue of simply living. She who now speaks to me through accidental clusterings of language, of things that I happen to find as though they were planted there for me and me alone, for whatever else could it be, since I am not in control of so very much before its fact. Most of that which has meant much to me has come before me quite by accident, to be perfectly honest about it, although I work to claim it as my own.

Cosmic tellings take no time at all in their transmission. They are the impulse which precedes choice, the emotional basis for that which we rationalize after the fact as belonging to me and me alone, the choice was already made before we could take ownership of it, twinkle in your father's eye, seduced really, and willingly as though forever and evermore could be had in an instant.

Now I shall ski, dammit!

And another thing . . . .  oh crap, my nose is bleeding again, although I've gone off the coumadin in preparation for the colonoscopy, balancing risk against calamity for bankruptcy protection, it's probably just the intensity of the indoor heating. What a pain in the ass, sorry.

Thank goodness I don't need rubber gloves against my own blood, although I've had to use them to wash dishes to prevent cracks in the skin on my fingers. Yesterday I did ski, up against the setting sun, rosy perfection really, over Lake Champlain, just as the full moon, first since Christmas, was rising from the opposite direction. I've been there also while sailing on Lake Erie and it makes a conspiracy of love; yin/yang splendor over some reflective surfacing.

It hardly matters that these true or reflected lights were from some distant past, one - the lunacy - less so. It also hardly matters that you, gentle reader, are distant from me by coy refusal perhaps or general repulsion not wishing to accept the taste of me though you would if I were only prettier.

You are informed by constellations as they actually are in your life, and they are arranged also for you and you alone, since you are that distant from your smelly neighbor or even the lover who is temporally so sweet, by laws of physics which actually do prevent your occupying the same universe which makes a pretty good guarantee against eternity. Since it cannot be all one, although I am alone. I cannot occupy your space.

Your mother is just one big accident waiting to happen, conjecturally, since who can be so sure? Not me, that's for sure.

It's the accident of your birth that proves her being.

Aw to hell with all these engendered man-made artificially intelligent gods. Nature, by very definition has no beginning and so nature has no end. It's only Man who mismeasures things that way. Skinned against eternity for hold on just a minute now.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Crazy Chinese Testing Regime Which Will Wipe Out ETS

Yes, we  all know that the Chinese educational system is hidebound and bogged down by dronish memorization toward an utterly determinative college-entrance exam which is composed of yes/no questions or essays whose "right" answer depends on understanding the party line. So no wonder China can only copy and not create, right?

Well, not exactly, but I won't get into that here. I just took a three minute test to get my standardized Chinese score, perhaps a kind of TOEFL score for Chinese, called HSK. I have some confidence in the score, mostly because I "get" the way the test is run. Simple really  - it flashes in front of you progressively more difficult words, starting with written characters plus the pinyin pronunciation, and gradually letting go of the pronunciation and giving you the written words alone.

Based on your response for each challenge, the next card will raise the stakes or lower them until you have statistically reached your max. If you take too long you're going to hobble your score, so no time for a dictionary.

It reminds me of the test I take every year to make sure my incipient glaucoma isn't messing up my peripheral vision, called a visual fields test. Little lights are flashed at odd intervals around the periphery of your vision, up to its limits including control lights toward the center, all of greater of lesser brightness while you stare at a dot in the middle. I don't enjoy the test, and apparently no-one does, but it only takes about three minutes, and it has a high degree of reliability.

You'd think people would like the visual fields test, since it's really a straightforward computer shoot-em-up. Hmmmmm, maybe educators make the same mistake when they think that kids want to play instead of learn.

I don't know, but I don't see why the same principle couldn't easily replace many of the droning torturous exams we put our kids through in the name of accountability. None of these help the teacher to know where to target teaching. It's all just part of the surveillance state, designed to keep people regimented and scared. Kind of like the way we think of China.

I know that this sort of algorithmic process is often used in computer-based learning, but I'd say we should implement it wholesale in the process of both formative and summative examination. It should work just fine for those subject areas where it might be appropriate - most certainly all the much-vaunted STEM fields - and relieve our kids of the terrorism of testing. And while we're at it, stop testing for willingness to be subjected to such testing and to be exposed as deficient for that. Right?

Maybe I was just pleased that I eked out the top level by scoring just above 5000. Who needs a do-over with that! Or maybe I'll wait until I finish The Three Body Problem in its original Chinese. Take that Zuck!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Burial Post

Typically, I have to rush out with something distracting just to hide the most recent thing I had the nerve actually to post. Mostly, I don't have the nerve anymore, which also means that I mostly don't even start. But hey, it's New Years Day, no official work, and I see that I have something here to bury.

I've had fathers on my mind for a variety of reasons, and it comes up in relation to Star Wars, obviously, and my own father dead almost a year now, and priestly fathers for all sorts of reasons relating to patriarchy, and this binge-watch I just documented with Hitler's son in the Skywalker role and the Republic/Resistance duped by Empire (The Man in the High Castle).

So into my field of view comes notice that George Lucas likened his sale of the Star Wars franchise to the selling of his children to "white slavers." Now I'm not disposed to like Lucas particularly, maybe figuring that he represents movie moguldom more than he does the art of movie-making, and well he has that born-again hair style and just doesn't look cool.

But the interview with Charlie Rose, of whom I'm more recently aware because he seems to have sold out to the networks, or at least I've seen him there on one of the BIG ORIGINAL THREE, and assumed he had sold out; anyhow, Charlie Rose is interviewing George Lucas, and like for the zillionth time in my long life I have to remind myself never to prejudge. I mean, Lucas comes off like a decent highly intelligent and very real, if somewhat uncool - which is in his favor! - guy!

And so now I have this thing to puzzle out in semi-public (because to do it in private gets me precisely nowhere), which is regarding where in the world technology should go next. I think we all assume it will be or maybe even should be immersive virtual reality, enhanced by CGI and maybe even a little bit of robotic drone takes to get to those real places which even in our imagination we can't reproduce, just because reality does remain that much more wonderful than what we might imagine.

This would be to crawl into that 3D screen, which up to now we still need special glasses for, but also to cut us off from anyone else in the audience for our own private immersive better-than-real reality, if for no other reason than that the drone takes will take us places in the realm of the real where only superheros get to go on the screen.

Maybe, all Disney now, the seats would shake us around and smells and fluids would make it all really real.

Lucas was convincing that all art is technology and that all technology follows the needs of the artist and not the other way around. Incrementally, each step of the way, the artist can imagine something he wants to render - to design, I suppose - which was unimaginable before and he brings technology to bear on the realization, and the technology moves ahead in the process. Lucas used the example of a cathedral, an architect, but he slid back and forth to even the technology of books for story telling.

But when we talk technology now, we have in mind something which leaves books out, don't we? I'm not sure that Lucas' claim is not problematical. It would seem that an equally solid case could be made that the technology leads the artist and not the other way around, but in any case, the scenario of immersive engineered better-than-real reality does seem to beg some sort of question.

Technology of various sorts has enabled mankind to come together. Certainly books create a kind of collective mind in the form of culture, and trains, planes, and automobiles surely allow us to experience different kinds of peoples, even as it allows families to spread out and sometimes one people to obliterate another. Soft and hard power can be equally deadly where civilizations are concerned.

Lucas reiterates the old saw that all technologies can be used for good or evil, and thus we all suppose it is and always shall be. But as my Dad used to say, you don't have to catch syphilis to know you don't want it, which I have extrapolated to mean something more like you don't have to take Heroin to know that it's a bad idea.

At some point differences in volume or velocity or any sort of quality become differences in kind, and we might all just prefer the virtual to the real, making emotional connection only with ourselves. I don't know that Lucas said this outright, but he sure did seem sympathetic to the notion that this kind of reduction would be precisely what the powers that be truly want of each of us. I learned he made an early movie on the theme: THX-1138. (Of course it's not so available from my usual outlets, darn!)

It's not that heroin doesn't make you feel good, it's just that it pretty much ruins your life. Unless you never had one to speak of in the first place, in which case there might be no comparison. Book learning is hard, but we seem not to value it any more, having replaced it with something called STEM. Book learning brings you closer to other people, and might even inform your emotional intelligence to the point that you can make good connections in the real. STEM is all about agency - authorship in and of the world at large - and if it doesn't provide the means to wipe us all out as it seems to have been doing so far, should be the only means at our disposal to prevent same.

Even Jar Jar Binks, criticized as I remember the caricature to be of black folk, should remind us that there are aliens here on earth that we still don't care to know about. Like maybe the shared experience of watching that "space opera" about fathers, sons, religion and the state might even bring peoples together right here at home.

Sure sure, back to the start here, and remind myself not to be so sure. Immersive onanistic virtual reality might give us our only chance to experience the world the way that some other does, and as a shared or at least sharable experience might bring us closer to each other in the end.

The trick will be to prevent that great marketing machine from killing off the art in the name of profit. Lucas talked about that a lot too, although there must be other people who took note that where he started by allowing Charlie Rose to contrast him for his embrace of popular media with his familiar "Francis" (I wasn't sure who that meant, and Charlie was uncharacteristically mum) who seemed to be making movies only for himself. By the end of the interview, Lucas was orchestrating himself into the same lonely posture.

I am going to return now to my struggle with the Chinese novel, The Three Body Problem, which seems endlessly promising. An old story perhaps; we meet ourselves by delving into outer space. We send signals outward in desperation that we might be that alone, or because we don't trust our promises to ourselves, or because Mammon is taking over once and forevermore.

In the end, we answer ourselves, don't we, since whatever complexity there is in the cosmos that we don't quite understand, we won't likely make contact with it by worshipping only ourselves as we are right here and now.

So whether it's the story which really counts, as George Lucas seemed to say, or whether it is touching the universal in each of us which the story allows, and which might also be done by other means, there is plenty of cause for optimism in this new year.

There are plenty of gaps in reality and in understanding which are bound to be crossed and filled in and made real. The good stories will all be strange and familiar both, with family in the role of enemy as often as of friend. The challenge will be to keep the heart true and the connections real. And make sure that STEM is not some means to keep us uninformed and dronelike, programming for the man.

Happy New Year redux.

Happy New Year (Star Wars Redux)!

Hello World! That's me, algorhythmically speaking, pushing some button to simulate life.

I did make it into 2016, though I had some difficulty crossing boundaries, and have nearly not made it more times than I care to remember across my so-called life. I do seem to like the word "redux." I decided to drive home across the first and probably only snowfall of this season. Horrowshow.

I didn't go in with great expectations, already knowing from having heard it said over and over again, that the latest Star Wars would be a masterwork of marketing, which it surely is.

But how disappointing that there could be no further inspiration which made the first one (and then the second and third which was about the end of it) such a thrill. Our world felt changed, and we were looking forward to a better more composed world, where there was some actual reconnection to a life-force, call it what you will. Joseph Campbell wrote about it, or do I have that backwards too.

I suppose it must be beneath mention that the marketing machine which the film now embodies is rather more like the death-star - I guess it's now a death-planet - than even the Man in the High Castle which I binge-watched to greater satisfaction than the Force Returns could ever provide.

Same story of fathers and sons, and the evil Wizard of onetime Oz being the goad for all the efforts of any Resistance. A better story though, except that it too can only imagine the world that we have in the place of any dream of a better one. A misty past where people seemed to give a damn.

The only innovation of the new stars wars, to my jaded eyes, was the 3D which made it seem as though my screen was almost a portal to a compacted reality. I watched the High Castle series on a series of very little screens to better special effect.

We have crossed some boundary to where we have no further dreams than to live as sated consumers, pandered to and promised release from fatty sugared overcharging. What more could we possibly want then?

The dream would be of post-scarcity where grinchy acquisitive hearts could grow a few sizes bigger, but I don't suppose we can picture that, really. Our adrenaline pumps when we are ourselves the first-person-shooter, and make the shot in some sick parody of Zen in the Art of Archery. May the force be with you too, evermore.

In the new Serial, Bowe Bergdahl confesses to wanting to live out Jason Bourne, and for that we must kill him, now musn't we, or at least hate him very very much. He is not allowed to be our uber self, that self reserved for screen alone, though if he did live the calculated cost to rescue him across the episodes would be still more than was expended on the very idea of Bergdahl left in the field to rot. They are doling it to me, and so I can't binge unless I wait, which pretty much wrecks the whole concept of high now doesn't it.

Questioning our chain of command is the only sin, and the church was already exposed as a patriarchal franchise grab of a meek and mild though worldly Jesus. The chain of command goes all the way up to Hitler or Rumsfeld or Darth Vader's son's adopted son, distantly related on the distaff side, who killed his actual Father, Harrison Ford, as reality mixes well in 3D with fiction to our sugared pleasure. Nice touch, that, I mean he's probably about to die anyhow, and might deserve it for misleading our loyalties, of which he has, famously, none. How much script should you really give an old man?

Our trouble is to imagine a better world that we would like to inhabit even supposing we are the Lucky Man who gets to live in the Castle on High. What is good enough to pry our cold homing wishing grip from that promise?

Could it not be to release a bit, to suckle, even to lose the promise of ubiquity, perpetual agency, design thinking unto death do us our part? Our drones will now catalog their obstacles and bring us back 3D images of a reality too far and high for us to visit personally says Qualcomm. We can 3D print whatever thing we can design. We can stop reading altogether and revert to form as beasts, perhaps, motivated only to consume or be consumed. Emoticons in place of faces shrouded in virtual reality goggles.

Well, Happy New Year in reality. I still hope for a world where the losers are the winners, since at least they didn't have to kill to get ahead. But we must work to imprison them all first before they spill our beans. Put guns in their hands if necessary, to cover your complicity!

I have grown so old and lazy that I won't even link my thinking for you, well you can look it up easily enough except that you won't care to any more than I care to do it for you. New episode on offer. I will grab my little screen and turn off the vision and turn inward to imagine. Or shall I drive? Decisions decisions and not a bit of design to any of it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gently Let Go Past Sixty Limits

I got a speeding ticket, can you imagine? I am far too slow.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

There is courage in age, since there is so little left to lose. And yet those things which would marshal our forces debilitate, sometimes starting with the memories, sometimes with the muscle, sometimes both together. Muscle memory is how we once learned to read and write, and now it has gone all digital. To the fingertips, as though they were the only thing which feels. Eyeballs the only parts which touch. Body is irrelevant if not for style and fashion, exposure, beware the bozone layer.

My memory and belonging(s) are distributed geographically, and blessed by grants of internal combustion I can still reassemble many of them, so long as I have a (willing) daughter along for the narrative ride. In the landscape I discover things which had and would otherwise disappear from my mind. The artifacts I’d constructed had a certain durability, as did architectural features of that landscape which would last at least a human span, stubborn.

Not in China, where political, social and architectural landscapes are designed for 40 year spans and memory is willfully erased, it was that painful or booby-trapped with foul infrastructure along a standards-free bumpy adaptation to global modernism. Tear it down and build anew before the internals announce their rebellion.

The modern always means that space where intention prevails, and beneath which slack lies buried. Where can Chinese memory persist in this so-called State of Amnesia, or is that our state? Our American means are still that much more powerful. Attention is pulled to screens and cowling covers the pounding recirculated explosive fossil-fueled engines of destruction. Only history retains projectile unrestrained exit velocity.

Now that children can deploy fissile-fueled energy generators, hadn’t we better re-examine the underpinnings? In China it does still seem more tragic that the written language did not deploy a mere 26 characters and a few more for the ASCIIng. Even to read, the motor memory was a necessary internalization as lightning fast an understanding of its construction could decipher running script and on the fly energize those recesses of mental processing. The qi would run the gamut of the body and out the brush tip, flowing onto a page, leaving traces not only for the mind, and it never did matter if they were written on sand, so long as they could be remembered, prompted, by some geographically relevant tracing, even if only in the mind.

Those things are gone for good, as soon will I be and not only because I share little intentionality with the crowd of us. These technologies we deploy so proud and freely are now become quite merely choice deferral engines, for their promise of no harm at some indistinct point in some future we can no longer even imagine without them. These technologies. And choice deferred is choice rendered up to those who would aggregate our labor inputs for their own well-intentioned enrichment.

It was never enough that the moral regulators keep our enthusiasms at bay. Preventing too much predation in the name of evermore Me. It is more important to feel powerless, to be made to feel, to be a consumer of feeling. Our memories and feelings are all digitized to some cloud to which we must be redirected, approvingly by boilerplate clicks, and owned by the Corporation to which by MicroSerf-like servitude our wages pledge allegiance and we do battle against our fellows in the its Name. We have so little choice and we need to buy new screening devices.

I would like you to cheer me on by Facebook imagery, showing me at my best while stumbling about the globes I circle. I am in love without objection, nor focal point for eyes or fingerings up yours.

And yet I rock. Cycle. Without intention without direction without destination, perhaps that frustrated along the way there were never enough breaks. Never enough slack line balance lost among the wired men.


There is no structure to intention. It rather comes upon a person all external according to accidents and happenings few of which we might control. And so the question remains that when you are the lucky one who can take the inputs of so many assembled others and deploy them on whose behalf why do you still want them all for yourself alone? And what, please god, would it take to entertain a different take, if not for the eternity into which you will not travel so vociferously.

You cannot trust that structure which fed you the goods, there is not enough bedrock scientific establishment of its reality and it was never luck alone so you might plant your flag on it, to claim it on the behalf of those who also crave the hilltops and buy tickets to watch you there. Advertisements of empire. Colonial predations upon your person, but nevermind. That’s all conspiracy.

And so if your mind were actually implicated in the reality you experience, you know, on the same model of where memories are stored and you only narrate a thread to pull them together across your life and times, as though that actually were reality. Not quite hallucination and not quite history which would be shameful if not revised, but something which gets to be called “you.” Hey!

It would not move if not for wanting. And there is terror in the system which would keep you wanting so much more by way of virtual reality constructed on the backs of mothers earth. What would happen if you were no longer subject to that terror?

The mind, you know, did not evolve from cosmic stuff in this direction. It was there at the beginning because however else would those particles be conceived? They have no particular existence but for someone’s taking their measure. Two alone can’t even interact perceptually once there are no further particulars to exchange. These particles exchanged define the forces, the outfielding or infielding, the toward or away which always depends on the priors for directionality. Ah, there is love and there is hate too down here below.

Those are only feelings. No perceptual measurable reality, but sometimes in mind alone you can know where something is heading and that it will forcefully interact at some juncture in your future. These too are real and from the beginning, as it were, no necessity to reside in God’s mind, having love only for the reality of our direction. Some things should not be named, if for no other reason that naming invites engendering and then control and intentionality. There is no intentionality to love. And gravity is just its artifact.

Among the masses there is scant exchange of anything particular at all to generate that geography of stickiness. It would be a force only in our mind if we could let go of discovering its secret exchange and fall for it. But for the embrace of those who could not care less.

It is still that easy to know with something approaching certainty where we are headed, if not how to make it so or not so as the case may be. Reality will not be seduced and yet it is our own personal intention which we are so desperate to augment so as not to fall subject to otherwise stark direction.

And still we make our choices by impulse. By indirection as much as by direction, and it is a felt need. As it was from any beginning that you might imagine.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dateline Shanghai, The Power Station of Art (Architecture)

How would one know if Shanghai is being built or being dismantled? Both are happening at a kind of break-neck speed. Both are keeping people occupied and employed. Both form a kind of artistry, for piles of rubble, driven piles erotically flowing shapes of no known human meaning except that they must be possible. Because they are. Today I did visit the Power Station of Art. It was raining and my back has been responding by spasming promising to take me to my knees or less. My own internal architecture bodes disaster.

Where, on the way that subway billboards seem 100% electronic, and so they can change at a moment’s notice or without notice or maybe someone plasters up new paper during my nights here. There was a one depicting cozy living space to fit a kind of company logo here:

On the nether side of the subway, wait. Never wait. You can see that this is a cute living space tucked into the shape of a cute kitty cat logo. But I wanted to live there, it's so cleverly arranged. Perhaps there might be a stack of them, although I couldn't remember where the doorway was until looking back at the photo. I think I did imagine that I could fly in from above.

I asked the gated community uniformed gate-keeper what was the almost uncreditably huge building there, after I emerged from the subway stop into a depleted landscape of rained out, and he asked me where I wanted to go. I said the art gallery, and still wondered about the bigger building because my GPS on American military satellites, I have to presume, was keeping me from needing actual directions.

I needed the other kind of directions, and he said "ships and shipping" and I said "Oahhhh . . . " in that Chinesey way which means something like a much longer dentist ahhhh, but pronounced in a way to simulate, well, marvel and understanding at the same time. Really. The scope can't make it through the photo, and it's a wasteland inside, though the designer claims on his site that this is one of the few pavilions which will remain open after the expo closes which is some time in the past now and isn't hardly.

And it gradually dawned on me that I was in the wasteland of only 5 years ago, the Shanghai Expo, which explained the strange combination of abandoned and falling apart with weeds reclaiming almost everything and aspirationally futuristic still. Explain would be the wrong term. Ohhhh . . .

And I'd thought this performance space was under construction, but it was not. It was being reclaimed from the top of the Power Station of Art looking down . . . .

But so how would I know what I was getting into, arriving with boatloads for shoes, sopping, and line of brand new Audi TT's perfectly parked and into whose tony space I could wander as clueless foreigners almost always can after getting a condom on my bumbershoot and checking it to keep the water out. In. I wanted to empty my shoes.

That's the view from above after I wandered skyward, and you can still see a yellow one of at least 50 which were strangely driven away in military precision after the proper audience started arriving from which I must have been excluded although by that time I ceased and desisted to care.

Since much to my astonishment and actual near constant tears which were most likely not because of my back, although I really couldn't tell since I keep falling to my knees, most of this massive one-time actual power generating station/plant which might have been removed for pollution control or for the expo same thing, was devoted to a series of architectural shows, once you got beyond the Czech Republic guanxied installation on the ground floor which started the tears flowing but had nothing to do with architecture except for calling attention to the space where it was installed. But it was stunning and like all of Shanghai, made me think that nothing really is going on in the US, except how would I know since I've been mostly in L.A. which might as well be China and I'm way out of date on Manhattan, where back in the day all this got inspired I still think. Maybe, be not proud.

It is a giant thermometer, actually, what were you thinking, but on let's say the third floor - and these "floors" are at least 30 feet high, or maybe 20, there was this Yona Friedman whom I'd never heard of but wished that I had, because his was called "Mobile Architecture" and composed a cosmology of spaces and urbanism and how we know ourselves by our feelings in our spaces, which was art worlds distant from cute for sure. And I would have paid big bucks for one of his books, but none contained all the expressions which were on the wall, and I thought it would be just crass to catalog them for my little self, so here you go . . .

Where down at the end, I don't know if you can see it, the one of perhaps a dozen aphorisms says that "The Universe Consists of Infinite Micro Events, Each of Them is More Important Than Are Large Ones" which about sums it up you'll have to take my word for it, but it's close or nearly there. After a kind of "in the beginning . . . . " in near Chinese Tao De Jing prose, from realizing that you are small and small is bigger than big but without any others you're nothing and so forth. Next room was a workshop space where people did construct some universes . . .

Which I will leave diminutive in the interests of space. Then sandwiched above the creampuff work of Andy Warhol's buddy Michael Chow whose affectations put me off a just bit, although I swear I saw his father perform a breathless seminar on Peking Opera back when he would have been about 90 talking moving leaping and never losing voice. "Voice for my Father" was the celebrated work, and it was far too wonderful to linger, honest, because by this time passing works of Julian Schlabel and Peter Blake and Ed Ruscha Keith Haring and so many more was more than I could take and so I thought why not to the top floor and who and who should be there but Renzo Piano represented by his many designs in another workshop style and I about died so I went outside on the roof or tried the almost empty by rain (there was epic flooding but how would I know, so much of my time VPNing out of country) museum cafe which seemed lovely but I didn't want to affect that I knew what I was doing here there.

This vaulting beauty and you can't help but think of Ayn Rand, the asshole, as something which cannot possibly still exist in Shanghai, not in China yet where beauty remains an afterthought for somewhere beyond the 40 years that things are built for and before the 99 year terminal lease runs out. Unless Gensler designed it which about says it all in the realm of yeah but it's sustainable and green, right! It has to be sustainable, which pretty much says what it says about little and big. Could a grass hut bee LEED? Certified?

So do they still need some God aspirationally installed at the root of what was hacked out generationally ago? Is that the difference? God no, I hope not and don't think so because it still has to be the Qi even without knowing about it, at least they don't have to go through the stages of many to one to gendered to disengendered to beyond God our Father projected on infinity which is way more than an affront to the sensibilities anymore. Really?!?! Behind the scenes is this, Brazil:

A mountain of raw technology. I ask all the time the secret of China's growth and I get the obvious answers, mostly leaving out the consumer grant of factotums from the US factor; you know the gap mind the gap with catch-up played that much more quickly than the original tune a nod to education which has always been important but now is really just a game, and my conclusion is that it's just flow. We were once and ever shall be, world without end, but it's coming now.

The traffic in China works this way: You are only responsible for what's in front of you and you might sound your horn if you're pushing from behind, but rear-view is meaningless and if you hesitate while the hoards are exiting the subway you just won't get on, and you have to lose the feeling that there's something rude about that little diminutive thing who pushed right in your front. Because you failed to do your part and slowed the whole parade, which isn't quite the same as paying dull attention to your smartphone as people push you through and over and in. Mind the gap. The smartphones miraculously continue to connect underground, or people might look up and do something other than the smile they grant their phones and niceness all around you.

I do think that some room for reflection wouldn't hurt a bit. But they need to clean my room now. No nevermind. How? I must decamp. It's just desserts, fried banana, fired with ice-cream, in Shanghai, really, toast of the chef and no charge to me. We are fiends now on WeChat.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bonelli FengShui Cycle

Crossing a hundred
Today my share of real adventure
Melanoma excised recently from Mom's face
Spinal tapped bro bike plant
Tire hopping traffic stops
Here in dessicanso SoCal
Where dirt roads
Function as public/private divides and
No one rights copy for this place
Which could explain why
They allow outboards, hell they allow inboards
On a pequish lake that could be pretty
Enough to allow
Monstrous McMansions overlooking
Footprint adjusted up for riff-rafters
Siphoned off to curated
Raging WatersPark
There are remains of cowboys
Ski planes, jet skis, the shouting in the valley
At least in Buffalo you can fail
And be noticed
You can die
And be other than windscrape
But still
There might be meaning