Good morning.

This is not where I wanted to be. I can imagine what it might be like being where I wanted, but this is not it. When it comes down to it, I’m on the brink, staggering. When it comes down to it, my heart still races at the thought of never being able to jump. Scared at the chance being taken away.

But that’s how it goes: we forge our pathways. Movie plots don’t work out in life. This path or that.

Prosetry

This is the part where I get introspective. Bear with me.

Imagine walking in fog. That’s what it’s like, knowing enough for a few steps, but not enough for ten thousand. Steps are like days, and days are like plot turns.

Hang on. No really, I mean it. Let me crouch it in euphemism: the edge is merely a plain waiting for soil and gravity (and every disappointment is cause to write a book).

This is why you don’t stop looking – I think – why you can close your eyes – I also think – why you sift the wind for waves – I think yet again – why I broadcast.

You can count on this: poetry. Not particularly accomplished or ground down to structure and facet, but words strung together like water, like sand on the tongue.

This is the part where I weave my fingers together and press down. Beat with me.

Last night I had a strange dream

And no, I’m not talking about the Postal Service song. Last night I dreamed my sister Kristin was in the hospital and that I was trying to visit her – there was more in there too but I can’t remember it very well. What I do remember is the weird design of the hospital. If I recall correctly it was like a Frank Ghery building, except on the inside. And I never did get to her before I woke up. I wonder what it all means.

Some thoughts on cyberculture.

Since I’ve been in need of things to occupy my mind lately (and having written the starting pages of a novel I may or may not be continuing), here are some glimpses into my mind.

Privacy

Privacy is one of those things that is simply going to stop existing. Maybe you’ll have private communication of some form, and maybe you’ll have privacy in your home, but you certainly won’t have it in public or on the internet.

This isn’t some malicious plot by the government or people interested in gathering datapoints whilst stealing your identity. It’s simply the logical outcome of what’s already happening. Cameras in public and private places, coupled with ultrabroadband internet connections means that a lot of stuff is going to end up on the web in some form.

The key is, I think, who controls the data, and who can access it. A most helpful piece of legislation would be that all cameras in public places must be publically accessable. That is to say, if it’s in public, the public must be able to see what it see. Could this be dangerous? Sure. It’d make the world a heck of a lot smaller. But the potential applications for good are also staggering, much like most technology. Imagine, for instance, Google Face Search. You want to know if your children are in a public place somewhere? Google’s face recognition software finds them, if possible, and tells you whether or not they’re safe.

The good thing is if this technology is ubiquitous, it can’t be targetted. It’s not like a camera installed in the home, which obviously watches a small subset of the population. But public cameras – public defined as broadly as needed – are going to become popular. There will (and I guarantee this) be cameras on and in cars one day. They will probably be webcast-capable, since your cars will be wireless capable as well.

Search Culture

Google is making everything searchable. Or that’s at least their defined goal. And I imagine that most of what we know as humans will eventually end up on the web somewhere, somehow. It’s already begun. You want to know something? Google it. Check Wikipedia. You don’t necessarily need to have a broad knowlege of anything except how to know, and how to search. As long as you’re near a computer – and you will be near a computer all the time in the future – you can find almost anything out. You just need to know the right question.

Some people are optimistic that this will bring a flowering of human exploration into whatever sphere they deep worthy. I, however, think search culture will bring about something of a stagnation of human knowlege: as everything becomes searchable, a broad insight into a lot of different things is lost. For instance, when I search for something on the web, I rarely look into what I’m not already looking for. My search generally leads me to the right place, and search is only getting better. However, when I read a book on something, no matter how narrow its focus, I always find out something about something else that I would not have found merely searching the web. The act of reading a book is simply different from the act of aquiring data.

Matter Editation

This is way distant future, but imagine matter editation become feasible and you can instantly have whatever you want for minimal cost. Imagine, for a moment what that might do to the economy.

It would do exactly the same thing to the economy in real-world items that electronic distribution has done to music industry: it will make anything that can be duplicated cheaply essentially worthless.

And, like the RIAA today, there will be a large subset of resisting “intellectual property” owners attempting to place false barriers in the way of that replication. Because, after all, in order to expect people to pay, there must be some sort of un-met demand. And you can’t have unmet demand where people can simply copy what they want, when they want.

But then, it’s a lot easier to hide a pirated album than a pirated designer car.

Some good music.

If you like good music – as I do – you should probably find yourself clicking on the link below. Or maybe you just want a free MP3, you greedy sucker of blood.


dan (who also likes the free MP3)

Comment spam.

I get so much comment spam it’s not a funny little joke anymore. Seriously, I must get over 50 per day. That’s almost as much email spam as I get on my Gmail account!

This is, I think, more proof that spammers do indeed rule the internet.

The Duh Vinchee Code

I am going to weigh in – like every other blogger in the world, and his cat – on the Da Vinci Code. But I’m not critiquing content or combatting conclusions. I’m looking at the violence of encounter, or the clash of worldviews, or the soft words of tolerance as their own encryption.

The book itself is for idiots to believe. A work of fiction, yes; also, a bad work of fiction (that is, insult to injury, being fleeced with a cheesegrater). No need to argue that point.

Rather, what underpins the argument? I think this determines what terrain you choose. My personal leaning is the conflict between objective and subjective historicity or its sythesis, but even that is too far from centre.

Deeper: how do I confront the book’s assertions and its rails? This is essential, to know what to do. I can do several things, not all of which I’ll spell out, but one of which is ignore it and go my own way. Some would see this as ceding ground, and others would see it a being tolerant. Others would fight a surface battle of assertion/counter-assertion while making history object/subject or trying to do both at the same time.

But let me ask you: are you afraid of what will happen at the collision of these two opposed visions? Will you try to squeak them by eachother or try to throw each a bone? You know in the heart of you each encounter is a thing of violence. Either I am right or you are right. In this place there cannot be both. But there’s a third dimension of the casual nihilist trying to just get along with a fake smile and such.

That’s the guy you want to kick in the ribs. While the screaming Dan Brown army is obvious, the snake-oil tolerance salesman is not, though he should be. You can ignore the crowd with pitchforks and torches trying to loot the gold between the bricks of the church; Jesus Christ has bee victorious over Nero. Dan Brown is the poppy seed inbetween God’s teeth.

Tolerance, on the other hand, is like mainlining those poppies: easy to fall asleep. But it breeds its own problems. (Aside: I am not speaking of grace, and peace, and longsuffering, and humility; I am speaking of that sort of slimey you-have-you I-have-me that won’t stand for anything except when it inexplicably stands for something.) The idea is an excersize in futility. The world wasn’t designed so that all poles of a magnet are equal forces. Tolerance – obviously – can’t tolerate intolerance, for instance. But more to the point, tolerance won’t tolerate land mines, genocide, female circumcision, or neon pink leg-warmers.

And in this age where tolerance – a concept lost on our father’s fathers – is the catchphrase on every goody-two-shoes lips, one has to wonder if the concurrent rise of rigid fundimentalism isn’t at all exacerbated by the inherent internal conflict of tolerance as a culture watchword. Or more to the point, does the internal violence of the postmodern lack of metanarrative breed the sort of insane fundimentality we see both in our cultures and others? Can we even imagine an age where men had grand passions?

This is the Da Vinci Code to me. It’s a cultural polarising agent. It will breed five types of people: followers, detractors, rabid detractors, the supposedly tolerant, and those who just don’t care. And there will be an inherent violence to the confrontations between those groups: when they encounter, people retreat licking wounds. Even the tolerance brigade will at some point have to oppose something.

New Music

For those of you interested, this is the music I’m excited about right now (you could always find out what I like by going to my Last.fm page, but that wouldn’t really tell you what gets my blood boiling).

Espers recently released Espers II, and I have my little paws on a copy! This is exciting in the extreme, as I didn’t think they would actually release another disc, but here we are. And if you like psych-folk (not to be confused with freak-folk like Akkron Family or Animal Collective) with strong melodies that you just can’t pin down, I’d urge you to check them out.

Also, there’s apparently an EP called The Weed Tree out there; I’ll have to look into that, too.

To the amazement of some, I really do like Xiu Xiu’s album La Foret. A lot.

I’ve also received some Wooden Wand from a friend, and it seems like decent folk, even a little on the freak side. But whatever, I’ll have to check them out.

We Are Scientists are amazingly catchy. Not good, but catchy. I’m listening to With Love and Squalor.

New, also, is Calexico’s Garden Ruin. Ever since I got their collaboration with Iron and Wine, I’ve wanted to hear more, and the disc didn’t disappoint. Check this one out.

The Burning Paris: what are they? Non-instrumental postrock? Interesting. The disc is And By December although I believe the title in full is much longer than that.

Also, who didn’t tell me about Built To Spill? And why? Indie pop forefathers, and I’ve never heard about them until now. Sad, sad, sad.

And last but not least, I’m still digging Mutemath. Atypical. Enjoyable. Rocking out. Kevin needs to hear this disc, because I think he could appreciate it.

Little Bloggy is going through some changes…

As you can see, the old depressingly boring theme is gone, and in its place a theme called Fork, a modification to K2 done by some good people on the interweb.

Also, the shoutbox is back, and I’ve added a link to the sidebar called “My del.icio.us”.

dan (myyyyy precious!)