Wednesday, November 02, 2011

MTN

This thick fist of granite is tattooed with swirls of red iron rock. I sit as the sun showily sets behind me, behind a ridge of peaks punctuated by the uproar of water. Water, the only element to defy the bravado of granite – but even mere water uselessly spatters itself across the face of crags without time, gravity, and the ponderous, dangerous thaw. Their combined attacks chip away thin sliver after thin sliver, year after year, until sliding scree and dust dresses the cliffs in a skirt – covers the cut through the detritus of life which embalms the earth’s bedrock, the cut this fin of solid stone sliced above the tree line, above the clouds, above the mortal mind, almost above even time. Divinity houses itself summit ward, respectful of the peak’s puissance. This relic, this ancient alpine outlook for the bedrock below, reminds mortal matter – root and beast and human alike – of their temporality, their transient status.

Later, lying in my tent, I delight in the night terrors, in the possibility of every snapped twig, every shift in the wind. This realm belongs to mortals other than me. The bear and the cougar control this valley and I merely visit, hoping they do not spirit me away in the dark to fill their empty stomachs. But despite my hope, the fear invigorates me – risk worth reward. The reward of healthy perspective, or wonder at the world again, or pushing legs past limits and realizing that they were mental, not physical. Yet above this tableau of love, loss, hunger, and pain, the mountain takes no interest. Both challenging mortals and impartially observing their follies, the mountain is untouchable.

In the morning, the sky colors the white peak pink. Colors plucked from air’s chemicals, placed like a garland across this crown of the earth. The sky knows that wind will not win while rock still stands. For all the force wind wills on mortals, it is no more than a flutter to the bluff. So the sky worships that which sits below it, that which sits within it, that which frames its form.

When the midday sun drums down on me, the rise to those divine heights cools my beating head. The realm of the gods, looking down on earth, looking down on sky, looking down over all of mortality, welcomes me temporarily. I am not meant to stay. This realm is only for me to visit. The mountain will throw me back into my place soon enough if I attempt to inhabit her peak.

Yet, as I pick my way carefully past her precipitous cliffs, her private valleys and clefts, I perceive my place anew. I appreciate the pleasures of culture and progress. I remember the joy of potentiality. I forget the depression of presumptions proved correct – the day-to-day expectations met as nothing novel happens. Perception is so full of prior experience. Perspective is so pleased with everything happening the same way over and over. But now it all seems unique again, as I am coming down off the mountain. And I know that realization will improve my perception, my perspective, for weeks to come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Motorcycle Trip Haiku

Day 1:
Burn miles and cheeks.
Pass valleys, dams here
where I used to live.
No time to stop now.

Day 2:
Mt. Rainier squatting
amongst clouds, glaciers.
Switch backs to get there.
Switch backs to get down.

Day 3:
Front of ferry line.
Hurricane ridge caught in calm.
Night in Twilight wood.

Day 4:
Beached driftwood giants
dwarf human forms. Offshore rocks
guilty of beauty, and murder.

Day 5:
Cloudbank moves inland,
Cape Kiwanda covered up,
cigars and campfire still lit,
growler still giving.

Day 6:
Painted hills, sculpted
cliffs – but deer in road make me
too scared to inspect.

Day 7:
Twist wrist to descend
serpentine ridge road,
or ascend bent cliff,
repeat, again, again.

On the 8th Day:
My skin still senses
ocean, or maybe dreams it –
tensing at distance.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dear China MiƩville: Thank You


This isn't a critique on your book or a sappy fan letter. I merely wanted to write you and say thank you for including a couple of blank pages at the end of your latest novel Embassytown. While I was broken down over the 4th of July weekend on the side of the road, I was able to make a sign with one of them ("Cell Phone?") and get people to stop and pull over so I could first call my friend to come pick me and my bike up and then call my wife to say I wasn't going to make the trip to her family's. Then, as I sat there waiting for an hour and a half, I was able to read more of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So thank you, Mr Mieville, for your good book and the extra blank page at the back.

Best Wishes,
Theaty Hannington

PS - By the way, have you ever been broken down for more than a few hours on an American Rural Highway? It changes everything.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Le Mans 2011

Hour 1:
Great racing so far! Alan McNish ran into the #58 Ferrari and the #3 rolled, threw a tyre at a photographer and caused some scary moments. #58 got back to the pits and should be good to go. #3 is very very much out of the race, Alan looks to be okay. Safety car was out for 1 hour 9 minutes.

Hour 8:
Great racing so far! Mark Rockenfeller ran into a Ferrari and the #1 rolled after the Mulsanne's corner, rolling up and over the Armco and caused some REALLY scary moments. #1 is very very much out of the race, Mike looks to be okay, but I was sure he had died. Safety car was out for 2 hours twenty something minutes. 8 guys replaced 127 pieces of Arco and a ton of posts. That was a terrible crash. Rockenfeller is being kept by the hospital overnight but checks out as okay.

Hour 12:
#10 shunt at Indianapolis (I think). Limped back to the garage on three wheels.

Halfway Through
Peugeot #9 has been about 1:45 to 2:15 back on the leading #2 Audi for the last couple of hours is just waiting for something to break on the Audi. Just something small is all they need.

Hour 18:
7 Hours left. Safety car is out again for the #74, class leading Corvette, shunted hard. To give an idea of the racing quality, at the start of hour 18 there were three cars within thirty seconds and one more less than four minutes back on them. None of them have had any major problems and have stayed that way since... the last 17 hours, actually. Go Peugeot! Fantastic race so far this year! So many lead changes. So many. Also so much time behind the Safety car. I didn't even post two of the safety car periods. We are under our fifth, so far.

Hour 18.5:
NOSE TO TAIL. All four Peugeots, the two in first and third, the one a lap down in fourth, and the other in sixth ten laps down; and the second ranking Audi. Jeez. This is how it has been all race so far. You're missing an exciting one if you aren't watching.

3/4 Through
So much good. So much. Peugeot Sarrazin got a one minute drive through penalty for a mechanic not wearing his goggles at the last pit stop.

5:45 Left
#7 Peugeot off at Indianapolis with Wurz on board.

Two and a Half Hours Left:
#10 spun and lost rear body work at Indianapolis the same time rain started and the #22 spun at start-finish.

Two Hours Left:
Basically, everybody has gone off at least once in the last 1/2 hour. The rain can't decide where and when and how heavy it wants to fall. It's trying to be dry though. Most places. Engineers are fretting. Most exciting indeed. Still #2 Audi and #9 Peugeot within 30 seconds.

One Hour Forty-Five Minutes Left:
#4 Mark Gene seemed like he hit the leading #2 going into the 2nd Chicane on the Mulsanne, then maybe tried to push him off at the kink between there and Mulsanne's Corner. Shameful.

Forty-Five Minutes Left:
25 seconds between Audi and Peugeot. Incredible. Ridiculous. Both need to pit.

Thirty-Seven Minutes Left:
Both pit on the same lap. Audi has gone with Tyres, Peugeot not! We are down to six or seven seconds of gap for the end. What a gamble for Audi! Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. 7.8 seconds between them after 23 hours and twenty-three minutes. Ridiculous. 31 Pit Stops for Audi, 28 for Peugeot. Ready for a thirty-four minute sprint? The drivers are.

Twenty-Eight Minutes Left:
6.477 Seconds...

Twenty-Five Minutes Left:
The return of the rain. This race is unbelievable. "If you wrote this race, nobody would believe it." - Radio Le Mans

Twenty-One Minutes Left:
14.896 Seconds...

Eighteen Minutes Left:
12.7 Seconds...

Fifteen Minutes Left:
11.611 Seconds...

Ten Minutes Left:
16.755 Seconds... Is that it?

Four Minutes Thirty Left:
16.741 Seconds and there is now oil on the track thanks to the Pink Oak.

Two Minutes Left:
17.875 Seconds...

One Minute Left:
15.586 Seconds... White Flag. Full speed final lap.

It is Over:
13.854 Seconds.
Audi wins.
Peugeot 2, 3, 4, 5. Rebellion 6, Kronos 7.
Two cars on the lead lap, three on +45, and two on +55. Those are the only battles left.

Ford GT in third. :) On their anniversary.

Le Mans 2011 Predictions

LMP1
Audi (And if it must be, can it at least be #3?)
Audi
Peugeot

LMP2
Strakka
Signatech
RML

GTE Pro
BMW
Ferrari
BMW

GTE Am
Ferrari (AF Corse)
Porsche (Larbre)
Ferrari (CRS)

+++

Less than an hour until Green Flag. Stay safe everybody.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

My Le Mans 2011 Rooting Schedule

With the first practice scheduled to go down later today, before anybody gets their times put forth, let me lay out who I am rooting for in the 79th running of Le Mans.

LMP1
1. Pescarolo: When nobody would show up and race Audi for years, Pescarolo did. Good luck Pesky! Still behind you! Welcome back!
2. Team Oreca-Matmut: Just like last year. I love my privateer teams in fast cars.
3. Rebellion Racing: I love Lolas. Such Purdy Cars.
4. Hope Racing: A Hybrid, at Le Mans? So racing is supposed to lead technological development, this shows otherwise. A Consumer development, hybrid technology, put into a racecar. I look forward to this.
5. Peugeot over Audi, any day of the week.

LMP2
1. Level 5 Motorsports: Lola Coupe. REALLY HOT. And Amurican.
2. Greaves Motorsport: the renamed Team Bruichladdich still has that drop-dead-sexy Zytek, but they now have a Nissan engine.
3. Oak Racing: Hopefully no fires this year, right? Well these guys got the old Pescarolo Chassis that I rooted for last year, but this year they shoved a German engine into it - BMW - and it'll be interesting to watch their performance. First time BMW has been in the LMP2, right?

GTE Pro
1. Lotus: Finally.
2. Jota Aston Martin: I already mentioned that it was an Aston, right? Nothing more needs to be said.
3. Hankook 458: Ferrari, Porsche, who cares? Hankook tyres spearheading Korean involvement in Le Mans? I'm all about that. Less flats this year please.
4. Corvette: They dominated for years - scared all the other competition away. Let's see if they can do it again, just in their new car.
5. Flying Lizard: Go Silicon Valley and ALMS team! They need another win at Le Mans.

GTE AM
1. Robertson Racing: Finally, my favorite new racing team of the last few years gets to Le Mans. American too. Spearheading development of the Ford GT as a race car, the husband-and-wife-duo have stolen my heart as a fan. I hope they have no reliability issues. Oh yeah, also the first husband-and-wife-duo ever at Le Mans.
2. Gulf AMR Middle East: Representing another under-represented country and region, and doing it in an Aston Martin on Dunlop tyres instead of the Michelins it seems almost everybody else is running. What's not to like?
3. Flying Lizard: Go Silicon Valley and ALMS team! They need another win at Le Mans.
4. Larbre Corvette: Yay! Corvette!

+++

Spotter's Guides
Radio Le Mans
Live Timing

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals Predictions

Predictions Update: Don Cherry thinks the Canucks are going to win.

Predictions Update 2: So do 5 out of 6 staff members at NHL.com. I think senior writer Dan Rosen said what I think the best: "The Canucks were the best team in the regular season and the best team in the best conference in the playoffs. They have a deeper defense, a far superior power play and the Sedin twins [and Keseler (man gets no love I tell you)]. Tim Thomas will steal a game or two, but not the series."

Predictions Update 3: I've been asked to give my prediction. I can never predict hockey. Partially because I always pick the Canucks and, well, they've never won a cup. I think we have a good shot, but Boston scares me quite a bit. I'll say Canucks in 6.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Canucks Fan Primer to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals

As a lifelong Canucks fan, I look forward to this Final Series immensely. In the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the 1993-1994 season – way back in the Pavel Bure days of Canuck-dom – this year’s team marks the 40th anniversary season of the Canucks memorably. Though the names so tied up with my childhood excitement in 1994 still ring in my ears – Trevor Linden, Kirk McLean, Dave Babych, and of course, the immortal bad boy Pavel Bure (below) – this year’s team has one big difference over the glory boys of the mid-nineties: composure.


Bure’s expulsion in game three of the finals for slicing open the face of a Ranger with his stick, and his suckerpunch elbow to the face of a looking-the-other-way Shane Churla of the Dallas Stars – which should have gotten him expelled from that one too – showed a Canucks team that had passion, but I now realize they had little respect and composure to reign it in. No wonder Don Cherry (below) hates us. I would have too. But this year I dare say, we are the team my ten-year-old self should’ve been proud of.


Don’t get me wrong. We love our agitator/pest, Alexandre Burrows, enough to put him on the first line. And our early season enforcer, Rick Rypien – yes brother of that Mark Rypien – totally tried to kill a fan earlier this season. During a game. Actually after getting kicked out of the game for pushing a linesman. The fan was insulting him by sarcastically saying, “Way to be professional.” So yeah, some of the old Canucks energy still exists out there on the ice. All of our enforcers are coming off of injury (Tanner Glass) or playing in Minors (Rypien) right now, so Burrows is doing triple duty as agitator, enforcer (below - he needs a bit of help at the role still though he is getting better), and first-line-game-winning-goal-scorer. If he would fix his douchey haircut I could kiss the guy for that Game 7, OT win against the Blackhawks.


But when I think of the Canucks today I don’t think of our on-ice lessons in why to respect our authoritah, I think of the technical mastery of the twins (below) and Lou, I think of the hard work and dedication of Burrows, Bieksa, Keseler, Torres, Malhotra, Hamhuis, Ehrhoff, and Edler. I think of a team that, despite being outplayed on a night they couldn’t get their game going (except Lou who got 54 saves), worked their asses off and won the Western Conference championships for the first time in 17 years for Vancouver.


So, if you are going to sit down and watch this team for this Final Series, here’s what you need to know: The twins are the best in the league and Burrows backs them up well. Malhotra may come back for game one which would be emotional and exciting for Vancouver fans. Keseler (below) is probably going to stay on fire (any other team and he is their big name superstar - seriously - just Vancouver is so deep) and Torres is due for a goal or two. Lou is the best Goalie in hockey right now, or second best, and I'm pretty sure he is a reincarnated Hector of Troy.


But for me the biggest surprise of these playoffs has been the Canuck’s defensive players getting a lot of offensive points. Where the offensive forces listed above have been sub-par throughout the playoffs (Burrows failures were a big part of why the Blackhawks were one shot away from beating us while the twins have really only dominated the two series’ after that) the defense has stepped forward and gotten games won for the Canucks. From Ehrhoff’s 11 points – 9 assists and 2 goals – to Bieksa’s (below) clutch 5 goals and 4 assists and surrogate enforcing, Edler’s 7 assists and 2 goals, and Hamhuis’ five assists and single goal, the defense has gotten the job done and done it well, staying consistent throughout the post-season. The Canucks are more than the sum of their parts: they’re the best team in hockey right now. They just need to prove it. They've never won a Stanley Cup and this year is hopefully their year.


But Boston offers some stiff competition. This is the first time since the 1990-1991 season they have been in the Finals and they have some really good players leading them there: Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly, Michael Ryder, Milan Lucic, and Mark Recchi, to name the biggest offensive influences on their team. But they also have hockey's latest – as in the last three or four weeks – wonderkid Tyler Seguin. Seguin was the #2 draft pick in 2010 after some time in the OHL. At 19, this season didn’t show much from him – 22 points in 74 games. A good rookie year, but not great. However, in the post-season, after being a healthy scratch for a few games, he took his best game to the ice when his replacement was injured. In seven games he knocked out three assists and three goals. His replacement is healthy but coach is keeping Seguin. After seeing 21 year old Patrick Kane win the cup for the Blackhawks last year, and 22 year old Sidney Crosby win the Olympic gold for Canada, I’m afraid of the young ones now, and Seguin has been playing well. Boston can also rely on Tim Thomas (below) in goal, who is the only playing goaltender with some experience who can be claimed to be better than Luongo. Canucks have only scored on him once out of three games.


Four of their centers – Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand and Kelly – all have upwards of ten points. GULP. Notice though, that their defense has been lagging in the playoffs in terms of offensive performance. Where the Canucks defense dominates defensively and helps out a ton offensively, the Bruins are a very defined team: defense does defense, offense does offense.


Oh, and one more thing to worry about as a Canuck: we faced them once this year and they beat us, despite some awesome Canucks hits:
Recap
Six Minute Highlight Reel

+++

Vancouver Canucks:

The Twins: Has there ever been Two Hart Trophies (League MVP) handed out in one year? No? Well there should be. Or since Henrik got it last year, Daniel should this year. In a total of 82 games this season they averaged a combined 2.4 points a game during the regular season and that is unheard of. Separately, Daniel had 1.27 on 41 goals and 63 assists while Henrik had 1.15 on 19 goals and 75 assists. Yes, that is 7 assists short of one-a-game. (A point is for an assist or a goal) During the playoffs they had a bit of a slow start but have compensated for that. Henrik has had 19 assists and 2 goals in 18 games – 1.17 points per game, including a game where he got 4 assists – while Daniel leads the team in goals with 8 goals and 8 assists – .89 ppg. They were first and fourth in the league during the regular season.

Keseler: He seems to have been made for the playoffs. After finishing the season with 75 points – a third-place .91 ppg, third only to the twins – he has come alive in the post-season scoring exactly a point a game – seven goals and eleven assists – meaning that he splits the twins and sits in second for points. He was 15th in the league during the regular season.

Burrows: After scoring the lone, regulation Canucks goal in game seven against the Blackhawks – who knocked us out of the playoffs for the last two years – Burrows went ahead and scored in overtime to clinch it, and my heart. He sits fourth in post-season points with 7 goals and 7 assists – .78 ppg. He was sixth after the regular season with 48 points in 72 games – .67 ppg. He plays on the first line with the
twins.

Manny Malhotra has been injured since mid-March when an Avalanche puck hit him in the eye. He was a big factor in the regular-season dominance of the Presidential Trophy (Best regular season record) wining Canucks. His first practice since then was yesterday, so here’s hoping for Malhotra!

Torres is fiery. He’ll get a goal when the rest of the team is down in the dumps. He’ll work and work and work and create an opportunity out of seemingly nothing – work and good-luck. During the season he really bloomed late – 29 points in 80 games – and during the playoffs he has 2 goals and 2 assists already.

Lou: despite having the coolest hockey helmet graphics ever, this man is probably Hector of Troy reincarnated. He is totally MVP material but about once every 20 games or so he collapses and lets one go. His last collapses were in Games 4 & 5 against the Blackhawks when he let a combined total of 12 past before the coaches put Cory Schneider in for game 6 to let Luongo calm down a bit. Luongo came back in game 7 to hold the Blackhawks to stop 37 shots in the OT win. He has a .922 save percentage going into the finals, certainly helped by his 54 save game against the Sharks – the last game played. He has recorded 2 shutouts so far – game 1 against the Blackhawks and game 1 against the Predators. During the season he was at .928 and had 4 shutouts. Luongo is one of the best goalies hockey has ever seen. He is the second best Goalie, in terms of save percentage, after the immortal Dominik Hasek, for goalies who have faced over 10,000 shots. Third for goalies over 9000.

+++

Boston Bruins:
Tim Thomas’ goaltending is superb – he is second all-time in save percentage for goalies facing more than 9000 shots – behind Hasek, of Course. Because we’ve only played Thomas three times, we’ve only scored on him once – Malhotra was the one to put it in this year.

Nathan Horton is a big, scary good player. His shoulder is sore so he hasn’t been the force he was all season, but he still scares the crap out of me.

David Krejci has tied Horton for 17 point in the playoffs, but has ten goals to Horton’s eight. Patrice Bergeron is the assist master with 11, and a total of 15 points. Brad Marchand has 12 points. Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder each have eleven points while Vancouver native Milan Lucic has 9 clutch points.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fifty-Four Saves Is Ridiculous

Roberto Luongo turned in one of his best performances tonight - which is saying something - to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994. If you want to know what a god amongst mere mortals looks like, he looks like this:




+++

PS: I think the Canucks should return to the V jersey design they wore in the 1980s, but with the new colors.

Original 1983 jersey design:



But like this:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Presentation: William Gibson + New Media

The Presentation will be followed in the future by The Paper then by a few diplomas. This presentation is placed between the research and paper writing phase.

Slide 1: Title Slide


1. Introduce myself (Nobody I didn't know showed up so I didn't need to).

2. My project deals with William Gibson and New Media. That is William Gibson, that is a famous 2005 map of the internet.

Slide 2: William Gibson Introduction


Out of the entire U of I English department, I was only able to find a single prof who has read Gibson, the brilliant Jodie, so I must do an introduction to Gibson. (Unfortunately, the only person to write a critical book about Gibson, Lance Olsen, used to teach at Idaho but was too busy to help me out. But this is better because I know my William Gibson and she knows her New Media.)

Bio: Born 1948. Father died while in elementary school, mother when he was eighteen. At thirteen he got a hold of his first Beat anthology and fell in love with Burroughs. He then draft dodged (sort of) to Canada - not necessarily because he hated Vietnam, but because he liked the whole free love thing Hippie women were into and war didn't fit into his goals in life, which were to try every drug out there. He moved to Toronto, then Vancouver, where he still lives today.

"Father/Noir Prophet" of Cyberpunk: After getting a Master's in Hard SF as Fascist Literature, he attended a few SF conventions and didn't like anything, so he wrote what he wanted. In Autumn of 1982 he read "Burning Chrome" to a group of four authors in an obscure backroom at an ignored panel during a SF convention in Denver, Colorado. This was a seminal moment in Cyberpunk - not the beginning, but when its trajectory became irreversible. Neuromancer, a book written on a typewriter, came out two years later and introduced many more people to Cyberpunk, then won the Hugo. It opened with the line, "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." (The picture is the Brazilian cover)

Penchant for Backseat Prophecy: Since 1984 he has become famous. From predicting the rise of reality television, describing what became the conceptual frameworks for virtual environments, and creating/defining the symbolic and iconographic representation of the information age, Gibson's words and works continues to heavily influence the people who are in the trenches of computer science. (The picture is from the bio/interview/prophecy/influence documentary No Maps for these Territories)

Slide 3: Bigend Trilogy


Project Focus: My project focuses not on those early works of the 1980s and '90s, but on his most recent three novels: Pattern Recognition from 2003, Spook Country from 2007, and September 2010's Zero History. These three have seen his most success - in terms of the NYT Bestsellers List and book sales - and are his first works to be couched in contemporary times. He calls them "speculative fiction of the very recent past". Essentially he views today as illegible enough to be treated as the future. That's another presentation though.

New Media Content: The recurring character, for whom the trilogy is named, Hubertus Hendrik Bigend, runs a Marketing company, Blue Ant, which perpetually operates by searching for the next edge and flinging themselves over it as quickly and profitably as possible and studying others around them. This allows an intelligent discussion about New Media and Marketing to guide the books themselves. Pattern Recognition deals with Digital Distribution, Viral Advertising (One-to-Many Communication), Forums (Many-to-Many Communication), Insecurity of the Web, and clearly shows him getting his toes wet in today. Spook Country discusses Repurposing iPods, DIY culture, High-Tech Pranking, Locative Art, and a Wired Magazine Clone. Zero History talks about Surveillance Camera Subversion, Private Twitter (One-to-One Communication), Order Flows, Cell Phone Technology, and Dark Nets/Deep Web (Few-to-Few Communication).

New Media Approach: I'll come back to these in a second (In Slide 9), but I want to mention them real quick. He supports three Online Catalogs of References, and he says two things about New Media that interest me for the purposes of this project: A month before the iPhone ubiquitously hit user's hands he said, "Everything has already migrated halfway to hyperlink" (5/31/2007); and "When I wrote Neuromancer [almost 25 years ago] cyberspace was there, and we were here. In 2007, what we no longer bother to call cyberspace is here, and those increasingly rare moments of nonconnectivity are there. And that's the difference. There's no scarlet-tinged dawn on which we rise and look out the window and go, 'Oh my God, it's all cyberspace now.'" ("Through the Looking Glass" The Washington Post, 2007)

Due to the sheer size of this project though, I believe I will have to largely limit myself to Zero History.

(The picture is the cover to the UK edition of Zero History placed over an approximation of Yves Klien Blue. I'm not explaining it, but reading Zero History will for you)

Slide 4: Question Slide


Question: So my question is a Relational Research Question: In today's mix of history, literature, new media, and old media, where is William Gibson? He talks about it a lot, he made his name off of it in the eighties, but where is he today? He is not doing the typical New Media trick of hypertext novels and digital obscurity, but how is he engaging with New Media?

Why Question?: Asking this question does three things for me:
1. Allows me to study New Media Theory, which I didn't get in the courses I took. "Gibson is in New Media and where is that?"
2. I'm a future author about to go out into the wide world. By studying a current author that I respect and how they do what they do, I hope to gain some point of comparison for my practices. "Where is he at within New Media?"
3. But, it also adds Gibson into the critical discussion. "Where has he gone?" He is a large reason why we interface with technology the way we do today. He is a large reason why we think the way we do about New Media today. Yet, as the most famous New Media theorist outside of the world of New Media Theory and Marshall McLuhan, he is not discussed. I want to discuss him.

There are four main research components to answering this:
1. The History of Reading
2. The History of Writing
3. The History of Cyberpunk
4. New Media & Remediation

Slide 5: History of Reading


Personal vs. Social: Today reading is a personal thing and readings are public. It used to be that all reading was a public thing – reading privately was punishable by death for many years in Europe. However, the pendulum has swung and we are coming from a time where many do not read aloud to one where more people are exposed to reading out loud. (The picture is from Flickr somewhere but I can't remember where. Sorry owner!)

Slide 6: History of Writing


Memory Storage: "All writing is information storage," claims Albertine Gaur in his book, A History of Writing. But it is information storage with a point: to communicate that information as effectively as possible (See this earlier post). Memory and knowledge are stored outside the body in writing. Memory is then accessible to anyone with the time, skill, and means. It is, unfortunately, not perfect, but it is passable. (The picture is a compilation of Alphabet Truck Part 1 and Alphabet Truck Part 2 from fantastic French photographer Eric Tabuchi)

Slide 7: Cyberpunk


What is Cyberpunk?: Basically, Cyberpunk is full of street-smart, bad-ass anti-heroes, post-human half-cyborgs, globally controlling conspiratorial corporations, fantastic technology duct taped to trash, while techno-babble, world-building ideas, and dense metaphors define the writing style. (The picture is from the Epic Comics aborted adaptation of Neuromancer from 1989. The words explain Cyberpunk and the image seems familiar today but was revolutionary then: the Matrix and Cyberspace were invented.)

One of the first published definitions: "For [cyberpunk writers], the techniques of classical 'hard SF' – extrapolation and technological literacy – are not just literary tools, but an aid to daily life. They are a means of understanding, and highly valued." - Bruce Sterling, 1986, Preface to Mirrorshades (xi)

A recent definition: "Briefly, we believe that the signature obsessions of cyberpunk are: Presenting a global perspective of the future; engaging with developments in infotech and biotech, especially those invasive technologies that will transform the human body and psyche; striking a gleefully subversive attitude that challenges traditional values and received wisdom; and cultivating a crammed prose style that takes an often playful stance toward traditional science fiction tropes." - James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, 2007, "Hacking Cyberpunk", Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (ix)

Slide 8: New Media + Remediation


What is New Media?:
New Media always deals with cultural artifacts and the way we interface with them: access, change, experience, transmit, et cetera. I am going to share two of Lev Manovich's attempts to define it. In The Language of New Media he defines five principles of New Media:
1. Numerical Representation: Cultural artifacts can be described mathematically and manipulated algorithmically.
2. Modularity: Fractal structure of New Media cultural artifacts – in the same way that pixels are assembled but retain their individual structure.
3. Automation: Interfacing with cultural artifacts requires less human intentionality.
4. Variability: Cultural artifacts have potentially infinite versions. Architect and Theorist Markos Novak says it is replacing constants with variables.
5. Cultural Transcoding: This is the interesting one. Though artifacts may still be recognizable as cultural artifacts, they now follow the established conventions of the computer's organization of data.

In The New Media Reader Manovich defines it again using eight characterizations - five technological and three idea-based. He also says that more than these are possible.

Technologies:
1. New Media vs. Cyberculture: New Media deals with cultural artifacts, not social phenomena - it is not concerned with mere networking.
2. New Media as Computer Technology used as a Distribution Platform: New Media requires digital distribution, not merely digital creation. A book is created digitally, but distributed physically, thus it is not New Media. Unless it is an E-Book. (He notes that this requires redefinition every few years. It seems to me that the iPhone screwed this definition all up.)
3. New Media as Digital Data Controlled by Software: All cultural artifacts that rely on digital representation and delivery share five common qualities: the five principles above.
4. This is the interesting one: New Media artifacts are a mix between software conventions and existing cultural conventions. Cultural conventions change to better fit the model of new media, of software. Old and New Media define how we, as humans, represent, access, and manipulate data. If all writing is data storage, as Albertine Gaur claims, then New Media changes our very relationship to writing itself. As a writer, this is important.
5. There is a new media stage to every new medium - an aesthetic reference to the technology itself (like DV film-makers whose movies are exactly 80 minutes, or Frank Gehry's CATIA or Design Project based buildings, or Hypertext authors).

Ideas:
6. Faster Execution of Manual Algorithms: New Media is both a speeding up of pre-existing techniques, and a cybernetics controller – allowing real-time networking and control over extra-bodily experiences.
7. New Media is Metamedia: Communication tactics of the 1920's avant garde movement are simply re-encoded and re-prioritized, but also take pre-made representations of reality as their material (rather than seeing reality itself). He claims it is a postmodern sense to rework rather than create.
8. Connections between Post-WWII Art and Computing: Artists and Computer Engineers often tried the same things with their different tools. Manfred Mohr and Sol LeWitt, for instance.

The third interesting thing he talks about is the Database Logic/Narrative Logic relationship Jodie discussed last week. As a refresher, New Media has these two logics being composited together:
1. Database Logic: arrays, records, lists. Process & packet, sorting & matching, function & variable, computer language & data structure. Nothing is more important than anything else.
2. Narrative Logic: story & plot, composition & point of view, mimesis & catharsis, comedy & tragedy. Everything else is cut out so the important story is not distracted.

Remediation:
Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin take the three interesting things Manovich talks about and labels them Remediation. They then spend a book discussing it. To quote: "Both new and old media are invoking the twin logics of immediacy and hypermediacy in their efforts to remake themselves and each other. [...] Immediacy depends on hypermediacy [and vise-versa]." (5)

Immediacy: Everything is live, fast, and risky. Accuracy is praised.

Hypermediacy: Even newscasts are trying to capture the look and feel of webpages with screens within screens, elaborate backgrounds, tickers of information, et cetera. Diversity is praised.

In essence, New Media presents itself as refashioned and improved Old Media continually refashioning and improving current media. Nothing is in a vacuum.

Slide 9: I Love This Picture


Architecture: In Art and Architecture, the medium and the message consciously influence each other. If you design a building with straight rulers, you're going to get a lot of straight walls. If you design a building with curved rulers, you're going to get a lot of curved walls. This isn't necessarily true, but you would be artistically constipated to do it otherwise. Different tools have different uses. In literature, we are seeing the formative moves towards this relationship between the medium and the message. (Marshall McLuhan needs a crown and a cape)

"Everything has already migrated halfway to hyperlink." (5/31/2007): Gibson's writing has changed as he realizes that he needs only explain why an item is important to the story - not necessarily what an item is, its history, its appearance. All of the who, what, when, where, why, and how may be unnecessary. Let me explain. I too first thought that this sounded like a cheap, lazy, writer excuse. Writing has always been dependent upon context for meaning: the reader must have the specific skills and access needed to read that language, they must read appropriately to be taken seriously, the writer must adhere to some extent to proper spelling or grammar, and no piece of writing was ever created in a vacuum. Essentially, Gibson is writing to the reader plus Google, realizing that the reader's cultural knowledge is able to expand as deep as it needs to be immediately if he makes the reader sufficiently curious. For instance, a discussion about carburetors on various motorcycles is interesting to the story in that Fiona's do not work intermittently - and that's all the reader gets aside from obscure half-references to various bikes with presumably better carbs (Zero History 185). These specifics are lost to a non-motorcyclist, and were even lost to me, as a motorcyclist, except with Google. In a sense, he is writing a print-book as if it was a hypertext-work. The massive, Google accessible knowledge base that every reader has access to allows the writer to focus more on the story. This is Gibson beginning to allow database logic to supplement and sharpen narrative logic. (See, it ain't lazy, just smart in the "Why didn't I think of that?" vein)

Online Catalogs of References: Googling various specifics from the books may put you at one of the three online magazine sites (PR Otaku, Previous Node Magazine , and Current Node Magazine) that catalog, collate, and compile data about the references in the books. PR Otaku slowly built over a couple of years after Pattern Recognition was published. But Gibson sent one of the contributors an advanced reading copy for Spook Country and by the time the book came out, the references were already online. This takes a narrative and turns it into a database. But it also seems to be re-socializing reading and creating a sort of armchair critical discussion (According to author John Sutherland).

In Closing: Gibson wrote a future that was so seductive and cool that computer scientists adopted it as a model. Today we are within his future to some extent. But he is still ignored by New Media theorists. In my initial studies, it seems as if using Gibson as a lens through which to look at New Media is appropriate and informative. I hope I have convinced you of the same. If I haven't yet, let me know why, please. I'll share my paper once it is done.

Thank you for reading! (The above picture is from this Instructable. First thing I do this summer is make myself some Concrete Light Bulbs. I am going to try making a form too. That sounds fun.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"All Writing Is Information Storage"

The above quote by Albertine Gaur is the first line in his book A History of Writing. His premise is that writing approximates the original, human information storage - memory. I would like to expand that premise a bit to and point out that it also approximates speech and is therefore a communicative art as well.

Memory + Speech
Memory is only accessible to the owner, to the person who experienced it initially and remembers it. To share that with somebody who was not present at the impetus experience, a person must communicate. Communication through speech only gives a rough overview of the memory. How many times have friends told you a funny story and it wasn't funny? Even the reason for remembering is lost in the translation in that case. But even more basically, passing a memory to another means passing a memory to someone who doesn't have that memory, or the mindset, outlook, experiences, or intellect of the original. Speech loses a lot of the power of that memory.

Memory + Writing
Memory can be stored outside the body through writing. In writing it down though, the author is attempting to communicate to the page that memory through words. The author runs into the same problems that the speaker does above. The fullness, the context, the detail is lost and what gets communicated constitutes a new memory because it is so different that the original. However, through writing it down, the author gives up ownership of the memory to the device used to store the writing. Thereafter a reader may engage that written memory at the reader's own pace.

Compare
So in my mind, writing engages the same process speech does, but does it twice. Writing is not merely an approximation of memory, but also of communication - of making that memory useful. Where the speaker fills in details with inflection, hand gestures, and timing, the reader can travel at their own pace, can pause and do research or think about it, can take the time to form an imaginary mental picture. Writing and speech are both between memories, but writing itself constitutes a doubling which makes it its own memory, allows it to communicate years after the original experience had person have passed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It is a great treat to be able to study something I love in college. I fully believe that the authors and books that will be canonized are those that span the academic and reading worlds: those read on the summer beach and in the classrooms, those on top of the NYT Bestsellers and the stack of Books in the University bookstore. Most books are one or the other. Aside from teaching, my best collegiate experiences have been with studying things I already liked.


Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of those experiences for me. I have, since first reading it, consistently placed it near the first books thought of when the word “favorite” or “best” comes into play. This semester, my final in college, I finally read Frankenstein again, and this time in a classroom. Needless to say, I am enjoying it immensely.


However, an interesting thing happened the other day. Creed and I agreed that Frankenstein was one of the greatest novels ever written in the English Language. Creed. The man who disagrees with everything I say. Among other aspects, I love him dearly for that. Whenever Creed is around, there is never a dull conversation: he and I disagree regularly. But we agreed. Not only on something literary, but something specific. So let the waters rise.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Poetic Fight

While the Brotherhood of Tobacco Poetry has variously succeeded and not succeeded at our aim, a Poetic Fight broke out on January 29th that deserves some recognition. Out of the blue, Creed posted this, directly attacking Gunn, as a preface to his second Tobacco Poem:

'Twas yestermonth in yesteryear my last poem was wrote:
A rhymeless Dodectuplet of tobacco-praising note.
'Twas amply criticized for use of vapid Fragrant words;
And so indeed I promised to heed this warning that I heard.

But then upon a further discourse in this blag's concerne
It was foretold to me that I would not to here return:
That I was an infrequent blagger, nary wise to trust.
Henceforth I held to post on here again to be a must.

This prophecy of slackery to-wards my poet's Muse
The Fates have chosen to reverse as an ironic ruse.
This one who did accuse my Muse of slothful disposition
May yet one day eat up his words in somberest contrition.

That aspiring apprentice of an Oracle prophesied thus to me:
That my recognized status as a contributor was but illusory.
And yet while I unto this blag present this humble song
That voice of Fate's attempts to compete seem to be prolonged.

No sonnet has he spun to woo a lady's tender heart,
No epic has he sung to show his mem'ry to be smart.
Not e'en a short haiku has he yet posted on this blag-
A three-line paean to his pipe through January's fog.

O pagan Fates! Why do ye stay the writing hand of prophecy?
For what do you bless me instead? By what obscure philosophy?
That very fellow who informed me I would ne'er write another thing
Feels very mellow apathy himself towards the task of hence writing.

Is this a feat of Hercules, of such magnitude and strain
To mire him down from writing his poem with pangs and endless pain?
Or did he here consider Anon. Jr.'s poem to suffice
Despite his obligation, every month to post here once or twice?

Or does he aim to end this month by quibbling quips to humor us?
To grace this blag with noble quotes from Alexandre Dumas?
Shall therefore we consider him to not be posting frequent?
Negatory, I suppose; the reason for this is sequent:


+

The next day, the stung Gunn replied:

A man of ideas, stands for oration,
Constitutional law is his vocation.
His rebelling wrong, the battle un-won,
Power comes from the barrel of a Gunn


+

Creed came back with this masterful example:

"Might makes right!" he fiercely cries, with rhetoric and quoting,
"The Constitution wields no gun- so therefore it is nothing!"
"Republic is Rebelliousness"- this thought he's oft promoting,
And afterwards goes to the polls to take his part in voting.


+

Gunn then took the time yesterday to reply again:

The gentleman saith, "How can you speak thus?
We and our powers have a communal trust."
The powers that be will ignore this man,
And snuff him out, the best they can.

He pushes against the wind, soon forgetting the trust,
Obey the gentleman's system, the governors shall regard.
Abiding by this, the conspirator says we must,
For this is his law unchanged: Obey until life gets hard.


+

It seemed Creed already had a response at the ready:

'Twas God ordained Authorities, of all shapes, over men,
Ordaining o'er America the sovereign Constitution.
"This law is illegitimate!" the Monarchist doth stammer-
"MY only law is law of might, of shotgun and steel hammer!"

In order to save countless helpless fools lost in deception,
He mocks the Constitution with his brilliant new perception;
That great enlightened Monarchist gives us a wise perspective:
"It is the will of God for us to follow this directive:

Against what certain is God-given power, our Rule of Law-
Rebel! For thus God wills it ever, fore and even now!
Let government throw off all limits, let the nation tremble-
And him opposing this rebellion is the real rebel!"

"Obey the laws, obey them all!" is what he recommends-
And when unto the nation's throne he mightily ascends:
"No law shall bind me, though I've sworn an oath to law uphold!"
And soon, corrupted by such pow'r, he takes a tyrant's mold.


+

For my part, I think Creed has a huge talent for Satiric poetry and sincerely hope that Gunn, as only a true friend could, keeps egging him on. I've enjoyed the trip so far and hope it lasts forever.

+

UPDATE:At 12:03AM, a sleep-deprived Gunn posted this, his best effort to date by far:

The Citizen Who Thought He Was King

You may shout of ideal rights,
With police enforcement here to grow.
But have you seen a riot call fights,
They all are heathens who are born so low.
You may say you have solemn thoughts,
Creating a witness thereto fore.
When all the others are casting lots,
Of who next in power you shall abhor.
You are rippin', rollin', rantin' now,
When the masters breached their vow.
By the time your rebellion affects the mind,
A wicked soul you'll regrettably find.

Larger governments will have their poor ways,
Thus ensuing a loss of wits
But is this reason enough to say,
Licensed tantrums and kicking fits.
"The vow! The vow!", you'll cry and moan,
"Their justice shall be served!"
Though justice applies to you alone,
Your sentence made unnerved.
You are cringing, crying, crowing now,
As the masters amended the vow.
While I lay low and enjoy the attack,
Content with the smarts my leaders do lack.


+
Creed responded with another gem. Can this man write a poor satiric poem? I think not.

Behold! On new adventures doth our Hero swift embark.
To sail the seven seas, or maybe just to stroll the park?
His myriad crushing arguments, for Might-makes-Right's True Cause
In former times serv'd as his cymbals, clashing without pause.

But now, he chooses a new task, a most amusing chore:
He gives his challenge, whipping up a witty Poet's War.
Perhaps he entertains certain fresh subjects for this duel?
Indeed! For his old arguments, this duel's his brand-new tool!

And thus he hurls his javelins, his Monarchistic jabs!
Twice swinging at the Constitution, stumbling as he stabs,
While throngs of weeping flatterers adore his rival's verse,
Each begging on their knees "Mock Me! O! Mock me too!" 'til hoarse.

A third blow, now, the Monarchist brings down with vicious clamor,
And those around him tremble at this stroke's resounding tremor.
These new-spun stanzas show his creativity; his best!
He rhymes with eloquence, then writes it oth'rwise like the rest.

In Riotous effort to advance his point through rants and wits
In Tantrum urges 'gainst his foe, t'abstain from "Kicking Fits".
He who would freely break the Constitution for some cause
Accuses his vile rival of now posing 'bove the laws.

How public, bravely, fiercely, does he give his foe hortation
To "Lay Low and Enjoy" it all when evil chokes our Nation.
If only he'd believe in freedom- Paragon he'd be:
He puts such pain and effort toward the cause of Apathy.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Location Hunting

“His arms are like, huge. Their muscle.”
“What are you talking about? Whose arms?”
“That cop's man. That one right over there.”
“That's no cop.”
“Rent-a-cop then.”
“No, that's a bouncer. See that door behind him?”
“But what's he doing here?”
“He's bouncing, I don't know.”
“Is there a club there?”
“Where there's smoke, genius.”
“Yeah but maybe he is a fake bouncer, you know? Like a dude posted up outside a building with nothing inside, just standing there to prank people.”
“What are you thinking for, ape? Take pictures.”
“I'm just sayin', maybe he isn't legitimate.”
“Legitimate? Man, I tell you, muscles like that, he makes his own legit. Thought the Army would've taught you that.”
“I was telling you, the muscles man. Now you agree.”
“I know, I know. I just now got a good look at them though.”
“Hey, hey hey, check it out. There is a group of people coming up the street.”
“Good. Now we can put down this crackpot theory of yours.”
“I'm just saying it is possible.”
“You don't even know what it is that you are saying.”
“Hey, watch.”
“I'm watching, I'm watching. And I'm watching six people walk through a door and some lights flashing inside. Colored lights. Like at a club.”
“I got it. So it's probably a club. But it could've been a fake club.”
“A fake club?”
“Yeah.”
“Man, that's a stretch. We are getting out of here.”
“Hey, can I pick the radio station?”
“Sure.”
“Some people say a man is made outta mud, a poor man's made outta muscle and blood.”
“Oh man, I love this song.”
“Muscle and blood and skin and bones, a mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong.”
“Could you turn it down a bit, I'm driving over here.”
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get?”
“How can you ask me to turn this down?”
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”
“This is a classic man. A classic American tune.”
“Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.”
“Well that may be, but it's too loud for me driving.”
“I owe my soul to the company store.”
“Alright, alright, I'll turn it down.”
“I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine.”
“But let it be said there is a special place in hell—”
“I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine.”
“—for people who ask to turn down this song man.”
“I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal.”
“Really.”
“Yeah.”
“And the straw boss said 'Well, a-bless my soul.'”
“You think that God or whatever likes this particular song so much—”
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get?”
“—that he personally spent his valuable time designing a room in hell—”
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”
“—just for people like me? Who have friends who listen—”
“Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.”
“—to music too loud while they are trying to do something.”
“I owe my soul to the company store.”
“God is outside of time man.”
“I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain.”
“Well then how come he created it?”
“Fightin' and trouble are my middle name.”
“Created what? Time?”
“I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion.”
“Yeah. Why did he?”
“Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line.”
“Man, I do not want to get into this discussion with you right now man.”
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get?”
“Why not man? What's wrong—”
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”
“—with this discussion? You afraid—”
“Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.”
“—of your spirituality? Turn that—”
“I owe my soul to the company store.”
“—down because right now I am driving. I'm trying—”
“If you see me comin', better step aside.”
“—to keep our sorry asses out of oncoming traffic.”
“A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died.”
“Okay, okay. I get it.”
“One fist of iron, the other of steel, if the right one don't a-get you then the left one will. You load sixteen tons, what do you get?”
“You know what has always struck me funny about the radio?”
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”
“No, what?”
“Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.”
“That's a dead man singing.”
“I owe my soul to the company store.”
“So what?”
“So that is a dead man singing and neither of us find it odd. This is an invention that is new within the last hundred, hundred-fifty years and nobody even bats an eye while we roll around on tyres made from trees, in carriages made from metals that were designed to protect people in space, at speeds that ancient people only got to when they were about to die, and all of it to the accompanying tones of one Tenessee Ernie Ford. A dead man. A man who has been dead for years. But you can sit over there and get all excited—”
“Make the world go away.”
“—today, years after this showboat has been buried—”
“And get it off my shoulders.”
“—as his skull is being cleaned out by worms—”
“Say the things you used to say.”
“—we can sit here and listen to a man singing—”
“And make the world go away.”
“—from literally beyond the grave.”
“Do you remember when you loved me?”
“I'm saying that is weird. That—”
“Before the world took me astray.”
“—is seriously strange. Not some stupid bouncer.”
“If you do then forgive me.”
“But maybe he wasn't a bouncer.”
“And make the world go away.”
“Get off that bouncer man.”
“I'm sorry if I hurt you.”
“I'm just saying.”
“I'll make it up, day by day.”
“Stop talking now. I'm listening to dead men.”
“Just say you love me like you used to, and make the world go away. Just say you love me like you used to, and make the world go away.”

+++

Apologies to William Gibson.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daily Write Part 5

Gunn and I have decided to post our daily, 15 minute freewrites for five days. This one is a review of some pipe tobacco, Hearth & Home's Anniversary Kake. The core of it, the idea for it was flushed out in those first 15 minutes, then I spent an hour or so on it. So this very much is rough. This also counts as my sixth and final necessary Tobacco Poem. Thanks for reading.

+++

Around the edges of the glade nude
nymphs dance, show no shame –
there are none now to watch them
perform the old pieces again and again.

An exposed rock, low to the turf,
the outside dark, deep, aged,
pitted and pocked and potent,
overpowers the center,
controls the shape of whirling women,
their hair flung forth to lift in the wind
of their own making – the still stone
squats silent in their close tussle.

These two forces – the feminine
dancing figures who know what they do
and the terrible tip of the outcrop,
tiny in relation to bedrock below,
but filling the glade, giving shape, giving order
giving stage to the performers –
the power and pleasure of the forest
the flight and the fight of flesh.

But creepingly another comes,
pierces crenellation shrubs, perceives
and, arrested, allured, alarmed,
cranes neck back and dextrously side
to see the pale hides of these hidden women,
their blinding skin more splendid against
the bold black backdrop of Precambrian rock
than they ever could be couched safely on any cushion.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daily Write Part 4

Gunn and I have decided to post our daily, 15 minute freewrites for five days.

+++

The word had come upon him like a slow, rising tide, like a soft piece falling into place, making pleasure real. He felt the truth in the thing. It wasn't that he knew, logically or reasonably, but he knew nonetheless. That last bit of brain clicking softly with the rest like two cardboard puzzle pieces. And in the end, that is all it ever is. Science, Religion, Politics – these are all based solely on faith. Science even tells us itself that our senses our fallible and our mind over-interprets every input, every thing we see, every food we smell, every touch we feel. These things are, by the time we realize them, interpreted: our brain flips what our eyes see, strings together disparate snapshots of what is seen. On the other hand, Science tells us that truth only comes from sensation and reflection – neither of which are logical processes we can trust. Everything is based on faith. Show me in a way that I can remake that the tides are caused by the moon interacting with the earth, by their gravitational relationship. Hint: to do this you must first prove to me that the world is spherelike, the moon too, that gravity on a cosmic scale and in a cosmic location is active. We all simply rehash what we have been told, what we believe, what we know. Reason is a whore. The only thing it can do is take us from a set of premises and give us a logical conclusion. Those premises though are unreasonable, just by their being.
His chair creaked as he shifted his weight imperceptibly. His bulk causing one bolt or another to shift in relation to the rest of the chair, or that's what he thought it was.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daily Write Part 3

Gunn and I have decided to post our daily, 15 minute freewrites for five days.

+++

I ridicule these books. I laugh at their similarities and their subtle differences alike. I find it funny they they all have found the same suggestions, the same solutions to the Pleistocene problems. A literature has built up here, a sort of ars poetica on steroids, juiced into a full size self-help book for the blogger, the bard, the biographer. The basic tale is always the same: at the beginning they teach to write more, try new things, worry less; and at the end the tell us to rectify, rephrase, and rearrange – but use these edits to experiment as well, to continue attempting untried tactics. This is old hat for me. This is Rebecca's hat that she gave me. Her poetry rules have stuck with me through my writing, have echoes along my path parallel to my progression. Priscilla Long's book is the latest and was, initially, much the same. I was mentally comparing chapters of her's to chapters, to portions, to pages placed in other poetry self-help books. But chapter two I couldn't. I found an addition there. Though Rebecca's Rules apply here too, this is a new tactic, an insight that has not been illustrated in every other book of what is becoming a genre. Words words words. It is so simple and obvious and I am sure other authors wrote about it, but not in the way that her ten, fifteen pages on the pleasure and prerequisite of compiling pages of words, lists of lawyerspeak, or parts to a lathe, or colors that are yellow. Sure she hates the Latinate, calls Anglo Saxon the true English, ignores loving the revolution of the Romance invasion from France, but this idea is, after eight years of reading these things for classes, one I haven't come across before quite like this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daily Write Part 2

Gunn and I have decided to post our daily, 15 minute freewrites for five days.

+++

The koi pond was a muddy mess. One could look at it, not into it. Every once in a while a streak of orange would mark the great expanse. The boys sat around it anyways, watching for those flashes of orange. The sun beat their necks into red-skinned, glowing, heat-radiating spans. One of them idly tossed rocks into the pond, small little stones really not that much larger than gravel. Every once in a while the plop of the stone starting to sink would attract a fish, would reward them with a flash of color. The green grass showed a definite yellowing, explaining the lateness of the season with such a visual cue. The boys sat on the grass. The stone bench nearby had steeped in the sun, sending too much heat forth for bare legs in shorts. There was a small bird bath – overly gaudy like most garden decorations – but the water kept evaporating away. The gravel in the path had basalt's slightly bluish tint, its field an alternating pattern of light and shadow in miniature. There really was no garden, the pond was placed in a wheat field between stalks of yellow growing out of the dark earth. The dark earth. With their mother's warnings to not muddy their clothes, the three boys arose and moved into those rows of their father's money. They all knew that a dirt clod or two would start it, but none of them wanted to be the one to toss that first transgression, though they all wanted to be throwing. Throwing what was once dust, and would be again once it burst on the skin of another. They stood like this for years.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Daily Write Part 1

Gunn and I have decided to post our daily, 15 minute freewrites for five days.

+++

The zebra lay on its side. The taunt skin of the belly heaved and deflated with a rhythm, with a cadence all its own. The black nostrils of the beast puffed dust into miniature fogs while the thick, wet skin around them grew larger, then shrank. Its mouth was open just a crack, showing slivers of white teeth, suggesting a pink tongue. The black lashes springing from eyelids showed the effects of the dust: the gloss lost to a thin hail of particles. The thick trunk of the neck was tensed, displaying a smooth definition of muscle beneath short hair, a lumpy canvas of undefined musculature. The chest's characteristic stripe was less dusty than the eyelashes, though still with a patina of dullness. The back showed thicker tufts of fur along the regimented spine. The two front hooves were flecked with mud from a watering hole. The tail, as it lazily switched flies off, created miniature waterfalls of dust in the thin air – unsupported, ephemeral cascades of light brown looking, rolling, building like smoke but down to the ground instead of rising to the sky. Flies buzzed anyway, of course, as they always do. Their clear wings purred in the wind, their helmet eyes scoping good places to land, the hair on their abdomen exhibiting the dulling effect of the dust. Instead of circling, they seemed to make squares in the air, but when more than one got airborne, their squares intertwined, embedded themselves in each other like Olympic rings and, when one strayed too close to another's path, a double helix of buzzing rose, the pitch of their wings, perhaps their tempers, flaring.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cyberpunk Inhabits Us Part 2

"The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." - William Gibson, 1993, "Fresh Air" NPR

"Politics has, like, jacked itself up to my level of weirdness. I can work with this. I like the sheer sort of neo-Stalinist denial of reality. That's what makes it work. It's interesting. I'd like to see it get less interesting. But I don't know that it necessarily will." - William Gibson, 2007, "Through the Looking Glass" The Washington Post

"When I wrote 'Neuromancer' [almost 25 years ago] cyberspace was there, and we were here. In 2007, what we no longer bother to call cyberspace is here, and those increasingly rare moments of nonconnectivity are there. And that's the difference. There's no scarlet-tinged dawn on which we rise and look out the window and go, 'Oh my God, it's all cyberspace now.'" - William Gibson, 2007, "Through the Looking Glass" The Washington Post

"This is new. People in really small towns can become world-class connoisseurs of something via eBay and Google. This didn't used to be possible. If you are sufficiently obsessive and diligent, you can be a little kid in some town in the backwoods of Tennessee and the world's premier info-monster about some tiny obscure area of stuff. That used to require a city. It no longer does." - William Gibson, 2007, "Through the Looking Glass" The Washington Post

"If I had gone to Ace Books in 1981 and pitched a novel set in a world with a sexually contagious disease that destroys the human immune system and that is raging across most of the world -- particularly badly in Africa -- they might have said, 'Not bad. A little toasty. That's kind of interesting.' But I'd say -- 'But wait! Also, the internal combustion engine and everything else we've been doing that forces carbon into the atmosphere has thrown the climate out of whack with possibly terminal and catastrophic results.' And they'd say, 'You've already got this thing you call AIDS. Let's not --' And I'd say, ' But wait! Islamic terrorists from the Middle East have hijacked airplanes and flown them into the World Trade Center.' Not only would they not go for it, they probably would have called security." - William Gibson, 2007, "Through the Looking Glass" The Washington Post

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3 Page Interview/Article from The Washington Post here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seven Pictures From Inside The Cabin

This cabin filled with caustic smoke while the basement smoldered then starved, saving the structure. This is Wood Light Frame covered in Silver Nitrate Spray Paint.







Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cyberpunk Inhabits Us

“For [cyberpunk writers], the techniques of classical 'hard SF' – extrapolation and technological literacy – are not just literary tools, but an aid to daily life. They are a means of understanding, and highly valued.” - Bruce Sterling, 1986, Preface to Mirrorshades

“Breifly, we believe that the signature obsessions of cyberpunk are: Presenting a global perspective of the future; engaging with developments in infotech and biotech, especially those invasive technologies that will transform the human body and psyche; striking a gleefully subversive attitude that challenges traditional values and received wisdom; and cultivating a crammed prose style that takes an often playful stance toward traditional science fiction tropes.” - James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, 2007, “Hacking Cyberpunk”, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology

“I think we live in an incomprehensible present. And what I'm actually trying to do is illuminate the moment, and...and make the moment accessible. I'm not even really trying to explain the moment. I'm just trying to...trying to make it accessible.” - William Gibson, 2000, No Maps for these Territories

“In the '80s, when I became known for a species of science fiction that journalists called cyberpunk, Japan was already, somehow, the de facto spiritual home of that influence, that particular flavor of popular culture. It was not that there was a cyberpunk move-ment in Japan or a native literature akin to cyberpunk, but that modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. And the Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-suns—all that towering, animated crawl of commercial information—said, "You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town." And it was. It so evidently was. Japan lives in the future; it has lived there for a century. Hot-wired by repeated onslaughts of technologically driven change, temporally dislocated, deeply traditional yet subject to permutation without notice, we all, today, must to some extent feel ourselves to be warped, alien, disfigured. The Japanese have simply had a head start.” - William Gibson, 2001, “The Future Perfect” Time Asia

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Six Pictures From The Road On The 2nd Day Of The Year


North First Street, Elk River, Idaho


Taft Street, Elk River, Idaho


Elk River Road/Highway 8, Just East of Bovill, Idaho


Elk River Road/Highway 8, in Bovill, Idaho


Highway 8 near Helmer, Idaho


Highway 8 near Moscow, Idaho