Detroit techno is architecture. This why there is no narrative progression, no chord changes, no unfolding of themes, no counterpoint. Sound spaces, not sound travelling through time. “So few people understand that” says Mills, talking about minimalism, “how to just let it play…”
The cars and buildings have dematerialised in response to the pull of the future. “We are almost out of the phase of the territorial” says Mills. Detroit, the first portable city. Its inhabitants virtualised it a long time ago. “This is what a lot of people used to do in Detroit. We would create a track just for the ambience, just for the location where you live, and let it run throughout the day. This is not music you’re eventually going to put on DAT and sell. It’s just for living in.”
Miss Pattern and I just booked our hotel room in Flordia for Sept 15/16…. We’ve talked a lot about making this trip, and now it’s gonna happen. You see, the Space Shuttle fleet is being retired by NASA this year, and the 16th of Sept is the final launch day scheduled. I’m super excited to get to see the final shuttle launch, as I’e seen 2 shuttle launches live when I was a kid. Though the feeling is a little bittersweet….
Prez. Obama has cut funding to NASA due to financial woes (understandable)… but this means that the Constellation program is being scrapped. The Orion capsule was to be the next generation of manned space craft as part of this program sort of like a giant Apollo capsule, the Orion (and it’s giant Ares rockets) were to ferry larger crews to orbit, to the international space station, and then onto the moon again. But all that is done.
Instead, for the foreseeable future, American Astronauts will be hitching rides on the Soviet Soyuz capsules to the space station. And Obama seems to be lending his verbal support to priate sector “space” travel such as Virgin Galactic.
All of this is very bittersweet for me. In my lifetime “manned space exploration” has been nothing more than flying around the Earth or cargo ferrying to the space station, and while I understand that this work is crucial to understanding life in space, I feel let down. When I was a kid I envisioned man not only going back to the moon, but onward to Mars and perhaps other places in our solar system. And now that vision is relegated to the realm of science fiction. One of the central tennants of many sci-fi works is that man belongs in space, man is destined to extend his reach outward to the universe. And I believe that. Otherwise we’re just fish in a bowl. A very large bowl, but a bowl nonetheless.
Some say the future of space exploration is in advanced robotics; that it’s safer, and more hard science can be accomplished. This may be true, but playing it safe isn’t going to help us grow and extend our reach beyond our own planet. Yes space travel is risky, we’ve witnessed many people sacrifice their lives for it. But if you ask any astronaut they’ll say it’s a risk worth taking, and I agree.
So for me, on Sept 16th I’ll be there to send off the last of the shuttle fleet as it roars skyward, but I’ll also be saying goodbye, not just to the era of the space shuttle, but to the dreams of space exploration I had as a child.
That’s the song Scarecrow, my fave track off the debut album by Red State Soundsystem, Ghosts In A Burning City.
In continuing our investigation of being an artist in the future-present, I organised an interview with the man behind the moniker, Dr Joshua Ellis.
I’ve been listening to some of these songs for many years now, as you’ve uploaded works in progress to your personal blog. In fact, I’m not sure when you first adopted the moniker Red State Soundsystem. Let’s start with talking about why you chose that name:
Originally I was just doing stuff under my own name. But I wanted an identity that could be me, other people — pretentiously, a collective.
At the time, Cansei de Ser Sexy was just coming up, and I liked their acronym (CSS). I wanted something that was also a Web acronym, so I thought about it - HTML, PHP, RSS… hmm. And then it just hit me — Red State Soundsystem.
I also like it because I dig the idea of African/Jamaican soundsystems, those big mobile DJ rigs on flatbed pickup trucks. I liked the idea of a middle American version of that. Of course, to everyone outside of America, “red state” sounds Communist, and that’s cool too.
I guess, ultimately, I just liked it once I’d come up with it.
So you don’t know this, but several years ago you provided the soundtrack to a weekend my then-girlfriend (now wife!) spent in a country bed’n’breakfast. Your music was the only thing on my iPod she liked. Have you had any other stories like this? Does it seem strange that even though you’re only just now releasing the album, some of us have had a long relationship with your songs?
It does seem strange, mainly because my goofy model of releasing music couldn’t have really existed before, say, 1998. I’ve kind of treated this music like software - dropping unfinished “alpha” versions here and there, refining it, and finally putting out definitive versions. I don’t plan on doing 2.0 versions, though. This is the final product.
I mean, hell, it seems odd to me that people have relationships with this music. I’m the sort of person that assumes that nobody’s really paying attention to what I do. Which is what’s cool about releasing this album - the response has been really great from long-standing fans and new fans alike.
I note with much interest that you’re selling digital copies directly over PayPal, and via iTunes and Amazon. Do you think CDs are now a ‘fetish item’?
I think CDs are the last vestige of 20th century ideas about media. They’ll never be fetish items the way vinyl records are, but there are still going to be people a decade from now grousing because they can’t buy new records on CD. But fuck those people, right?
In previous incarnations, such as writing for Mondo 2000, you were part of the team behind Mperia, an online music service that was pro-artist, but ultimately before it’s time. Watching the rise of iTunes, which disproved all the naysayers that said no one would ever pay for music online, must be a bit rough.
Your interviewon the RU Sirius show is something I’ve made several aspirant musicians listen to. What’s it like reflecting upon that period now? What lessons have you learnt that you can apply today?
You know, the day after Bitpass’s CEO called me and told me Bitpass and Mperia were shutting down, I went down to the store late at night to buy cigarettes and Diet Coke and the new issue of WIRED was on the stands, with Beck on the cover: THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL MUSIC. I wanted to knock the newsstand over and storm out of the place and turn my life to Jesus. But I didn’t; I bought the magazine, cut the cover off, and wrote on it with a Sharpie: DO BETTER NEXT TIME.
Mperia was a great idea that was two or three years ahead of its time. And yeah, it kind of sucks to see people getting rich parroting stuff I said at the beginning of the decade, and I was bitter for a long time. But I learned a hell of a lot about business over there. First and foremost: never, ever, ever put anything creative or exciting or dangerous in the hands of accountants and middle managers. They will find a way to fuck it up and file the edges down to nothing.
Micropatronage is something you’ve explored before with your writing. Have you considered trying something similar with your music, a themed EP perhaps? What do you think this might look like?
Funny you mention that — the other day I was kicking around the idea of using Kickstarter to fund a trip to Africa to record with local musicians. I’d love to do that. Aside from weird stuff like that, though… I don’t really need patronage to record/release music. I own my own gear, so it doesn’t cost me anything anymore. New gear would be nice, though.
While we’re throwing out naughties-era ‘net buzzwords.. CROWDSOURCING! You’ve been looking for people to help film a clip for “Scatterlings + Refugees”. Tell our glorious readers here how they can get involved.. Wait, here’s the link to your post on the subject.. anything more you want to add?
Yes! I’d very much like to do this, and I’d like to do it on the first of February. So wherever you are in the world on February 1st, go outside and film yourself lip-syncing to my song and send me the video and I’ll edit it into the official video for the track.
Let’s talk online presence.. Does MySpace still matter? What about 8Track? Or is it just about Facebook? (People, join the Fan Group here). Can the kids follow the band on Twitter? And will you be releasing any remixes of your songs as ring tones?
I don’t think MySpace matters much anymore…except to musicians. If MySpace just admitted it — said ‘Hey, Facebook’s won, let’s focus on MySpace Music and get rid of everything else’ — they might do well. But they won’t.
Social networks matter, but only by default; you have to be on Facebook and MySpace, but I’m not entirely convinced that simply maintaining a presence there is enough. Twitter, absolutely. Twitter is great for keeping yourself out in the world, and I mean that both in the cynical marketing sense and also to keep you connected with the people who are, at least in theory, your audience.
And yeah, I’m probably going to be releasing ringtones, but not remixes — original ringtones. I have a weird fascination with microcompositions, like Eno doing the Windows theme.
You call Vegas home. How has living in one of the stranger cities on Earth informed your song writing?
Oh, God. Yeah, Vegas has been home for a while, even though I’m not from here - I grew up primarily in north Texas, and I’ve lived all over America and even in Turkey for a year when I was a kid. It’s funny, because a few of the reviews I’ve gotten so far on the album think that the “burning city” in the title refers to Vegas, which it doesn’t. (It’s a line from a Stephen Vincent Benet poem.) The “burning city” is, I think, the globalist world - the endless cityscape of the 21st century.
Vegas is a bizarre place to live if you’re not involved with the casinos, which I’m not at all. It’s like Flint, Michigan without all the bohemian charm. :-) I guess it informs my songwriting because there’s so much weird fucking human drama playing out here all the time, on every street corner.
If I’ve been stalking you right, you’ve got something similar to the Gorillaz in the works. What’s the deal there?
Well, a while back I was playing around with the idea of having Red State Soundsystem be a virtual band like the Gorillaz - never showing my real face, doing narrative animated videos, etc. But I kind of gave that up. Damon Albarn has Jamie Hewlett. I don’t.
You’ve publicly criticized Cory Doctorow’s pushing of Creative Commons, but do you think Bono’s stance of late has been even more annoying/stupefying?
Well, first let me say that I’m massively in favor of the Creative Commons. I’ve released work through the CC licenses and I was actually there for their launch party in SF. I think that Creative Commons licensing is a great choice. But there’s the key word: choice.
What bothers me about Cory’s stance — and the stance of “copyfighters” in general — is that they talk an awful lot about the rights of consumers, and very little about the rights of artists.
Look: it took me around three years to record this album, not counting the almost twenty years before that of learning to play and writing songs and all that. I think that if people enjoy my work, it’s absolutely fair for me to ask them to pay me ten measly bucks for it. I’m not gouging anybody. Nor am I going around suing anybody for “stealing” my music. But I’d very much like you to pay for it if you enjoy it.
I’ve never understood why copyfighters don’t follow the example of the Free Software movement. Open source geeks refuse to use software that has licenses they don’t agree with. And most open source geeks don’t go around trumpeting that you should steal commercial software, right?
So why don’t copyfighters stop bitching at record labels and bands and just listen exclusively to the wide range of Creative Commons-licensed or copyright-free music out there? It’s free, easy to find, and unlike open software, you don’t usually have to hunt down dependent software packages to rock out with it.
Now, Bono: I happen to really like Bono. I think he’s a remarkable and very clever man who has done a great deal of good in the world - not just through his activism, but by simply making music that makes a whole lot of people very happy. People fall in love to U2 songs, and listen to them to deal with the pain of falling out of love; they play U2 songs at their funerals; they crank The Joshua Tree at full volume when they’re driving and it makes them feel alive.
Bono (and his band-mates) did that. Their job is to make music. And I think they’ve gotten deservedly rich doing that job, whether you like them or not. I don’t begrudge Bono one cent of his fortune, and I don’t think he has any moral obligation to not want to make any more money from his work… any more than, say, Adobe ought to give Photoshop away for free now because they’ve already gotten rich selling it. I wish we lived in a world where that made sense, but I don’t.
So I think the argument that Bono’s a jerk-off because rich rock stars shouldn’t care about copyrights is ludicrous.
Having said that: I think his solutions to these issues are also ludicrous. He’s a smart, informed guy, but he’s wrong here. I’d love to sit and drink a Guinness with the man and talk to him about it sometime, because at this point I think I’m as much of an expert on these matters as anybody else in the world. Bono, call me!
Now, I’m just going to throw these out there..
Who points closer to the future - Amanda Palmer or Lady Gaga?
God, I hope it’s Amanda Palmer. Lady Gaga is a famous person who also happens to make completely unremarkable house music. She’s not bad musically, but she’s not interesting, and I’m really bored with people who exist just to be famous and be icons and fabulous and all that Andy Warhol bullshit.
Amanda, on the other hand, is an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter who is building a model for DIY musicians simply by doing her thing and existing, and I love her for that. (I’m also a fan of her music.) So I hope more people follow her lead.
Do you think we will ever, or indeed should, get off-world?
Yes, but not until we figure out how to offload a human mind into an artificial storage/consciousness unit. The math is all wrong for any other kind of space travel, except to maybe Mars and the Moon. (Did you know I went to Space Camp? I totally did. And I’m obsessed with transhumanism and posthumanism and all that Eric Drexler / Ray Kurzweil stuff.)
In conclusion, paint me a picture of the most perfect gig you could ever possibly play:
Creativity and Curiosity often go hand in hand, and both are discouraged in our society. Sure, we may talk big about them, but take a moment to think about the last time you came up with a truly outrageous idea, how the people around you reacted. What about the last time you went on a learning binge? Did the people around you look at you oddly? If not, count yourself lucky. Come on a bit of a jump here with me - I think this has to do with how litigious our culture is. We generally look outside ourselves for blame when things go wrong. I’m not going to get into why we do this displacement of blame - others will be far better at discussing that than myself. What I can talk about is what that tendency does to us, and how we might remedy those mindsets.
An example, of sorts: A producer has cater to the lowest common denominator when designing and marketing their product, both to reach the largest possible audience, but also to protect themselves. A producer has two general directions to go with their product in relation to their clientele, regardless of what the product is: open it up, or close it off. Opening it requires some level of disclosure about how the product works, encourages learning about the product, feedback about how to make it better, etc. This is expensive, assumes the user will take some personal responsibility interacting with the open product causes its breakage or their injury. The general mindset is that the risks of injury or intellectual property aren’t worth taking. So the other route is followed: closing the product off. The producer takes full responsibility for a product not working, but also protects themselves from intellectual property theft (thereby protecting their asset), has full control over the safety of the product, etc. They are much safer. The populace at large is, after all, stupid and litigious.
That’s where my issue comes in. The population at large is *not* stupid and litigious by nature, but because they are expected to be, and are treated as such. You can blame it on the Halo Effect (link), or one bad apple, or whatever you want to. Our court system is even based on precedence. If people before you thought that the action you’re parsing was a bad one, you’re supposed to also think it’s a bad one. But that also means that you can change that simply by making it clear how you’re dealing with a situation. We can change expectations, both in the legal and in the meatspace worlds. Most juries do find silly suits as just that - silly. We just hear about the epic and huge ones (lady that spilled coffee on her lap and won a bunch of money? Yeah, actually read the case sometime. I totally agree with the decision) because that’s what our media goes for. We need to focus on the ones where the juries or judges tell the plaintiff to suck it up, to quit being stupid, etc.
In short… hack it. Take it apart. Show them the new way.
Borrow The Indifference (Ed. I'm a spectator here too. Just passing along the uber. -Jerem)
- Written By ‘Siva de Ferrera [A.K.A. Keith Ferrera]
Mail will be delivered by telepathy in 18 months. They are beta testing it now.
V0.86’s only bug to speak of is that files larger than 100MB make the recipient breakdown in tears. V0.97ALPHA fixes that bug and only at 1.2GB does the recipientstart to drool and recite screenplays from old Kaptain Kangaroo episodes. RC 1.0 will almostcertainly come with disclaimer. With the speed at which the Available Information Ageis traversing, intercourse, by touching forefinger-to-forefinger, is not too far away. Japan, as always, is on the forefront of that technology.
In fact, thumb-to-forefingerauto erotica SNAPS, as they are being referred to, are already being sold in Manga shops andBody Alt Clinics in New Tokyo
and the openware downloaded on most Distributed Hash Trackers. Short for Sexual Narcissistic Auto-Erotic Pleasure Signalation, they have replacedHeroin as the “New Nod”. Outlawing their commercial use in the U.S. has only made them moreprevalent and SNAPSmodders have turned into the equivalent of a back alley abortionist…or abolitionist depending on which wing you cower under. Ironically though, drugs are no longeran issue since they, being only a substitution for prolonged orgasm, can’t compete with the real thing.Snapping your fingers in a Jazz club used to pronounce your hip appreciation for the artist.
Now, Mole Kids pop and lock, genuflect and gesticulate to MOOG lines and compressed beats
at24 hour Stations
with raw fingers… oozing…
Clasping hands, they hail one another with the credo, and subsequent manifesto, “Under and Out,”(as they Soul Shake, finger clasp, abrazo, and snap their fingers back on the release,taking care to firmly graze each others SNAPS) choosing to stay undergroundand riding the outer edge of frequency and technology, jacking whatever they can. In these OutRiders, Morrison’s Ghost still haunts, moving their souls closer stillto The End through these depraved and vagrant halls.
The abstract nightmare that is the the double-ought Decade is beyond our beatific imaginings.All the children are on Serotonin Re-uptakes…Them dementia prone nostalgics are driving them absolutely mad….and their parents are on Atypical Neuroleptics . Hippies close in and infect us with PTSD.You selfish Fucks!God is sitting in a virtual reality busgoing insane from the never-ending slaughter film. Crying with me. He realizes this… is the end,but is too disturbedto stop the rotisserie.His tears are desperate, but… he hears us not. His pain is deep.This is his fault.He is forsaken.He has forsaken himself. The sunbeam in his eye is glinting,glistening in his wet orb.He sees, butforgets his transgressions. We are lost on his dandruffed scalp.We are the plague on his skin.We disturb him.We have disowned him. He is alone and praying to give us peace.The parameters are too great.The rain falls intermittently throughout history.We gag on our monumental discrepancies. We fight and coerce one another.We have lost touch with choice.We devise broken divisions of mistrust and abandonment.We strike and miss the totality of the struggle. We curse our name.We bow to horrific non-fiction.Grabbing the neck in the mirrorwe strike with irrelevant Dogma. We curse our loinsleaving our seed’s innocent child in perpetual assault.Destroy our nameIn-The-Name-Of. Worship confused menand damn the others.The sand falls through the fingersand we hear not the wind. The angry screamcriedfellowships with ignorance and lays wasteto friendship and brotherhood. We are cloth and are clean.We are matter and existto balance anti-matter.We are one and only. We cannot bring ourselves to the end of ituntil weborrow the indifference of the seato the shore. Solace is a place beyond truth.Truth is irrelevant.We are a lost specieswaiting for a blackhole to swallow us with ambiguity. We know ourselves backwards.We revel in it.Saccharin bravery and rehabilitative economic sanctionswill be the death of glory and Capitalistic socialist Neo-Conservatist Democracy. Lose trust in a caricature.Dance silly to the Honky-Tonk Soul.It will glitch and glow to hyper-sensitive collective mediocrityand abandon itself to television opinion and categorical news. Fishing will only happen on the radio.A wheel well willcollect mud as designed,unknowingly. Darwin is proved and exonerated.We kick the wheel.We practice inconsequentials.We are proud and relevant. And still the pain falls.It fallsand washesthe pride from our lips. We jabber onand waitfor the firstto fall. When he whispers that gentle commandHe gives us ,graciously,our last deep breath. She runs her fingers through our hairone last time.She kisses our neckand divides time. Our eyes closedwe see nothing.We heara timid and thoughtful love uttered. She lingersthat moment like…unlike…ever before. (Someone imagines a kind scene playing out on a stage) Gleeking a final timeand brings reality to a complete and final retreat.In that finality the shadows live a lifetimeof doubt just as we had. Pulling their black faces over our eyes.Nothing fingers clutchsun cast liesand don’t cry out. Fuck! It’s never over.The back becomes the frontand polarizesthe insignificance. The poem only ends the words,but the thoughts continue to prevail and destroy the living mind.It’s only inheritance; Schizophrenia and unreturned Love.Not enough and way too much. Not worthy of the delicious completeness.Not born of Love, but constant reconciliation.of abandoned hope and futile adolescent grip.The suction of single purpose to open warmth. We cannot bring ourselves to the end of ituntil weborrow the indifference of the seato the shore. Solace is a place beyond truth.Truth is Siren, singing us to shipwreck.We are a lost specieswaiting for the singularity to swallow our ambiguity.
As the world changes, so do our needs. As our needs change so does the world.
Who needed literacy 20,000 years ago? Who needed the internet just twenty years ago? In just twenty years hence, you might need a garden and a second head complete with penile attachment. To show you’re stylish and forward thinking, perhaps you’ll grow the garden on your clothes and your second head not only has the penile attachment but a matching scrotum chin. There, you keep your DNA computed, semen tweets translated direct from thoughts.
You meet up with a friend who has a head womb to ejaculate and impregnate with a dream. Few days later, its head gives birth, via self-organizing vomit, to a chimera that acts like a carnival barker, spouting your combined ideas on street corners, hawking only the finest dream images to bored commuters for credits uploaded into your organ banks. A good portion of this is paid as a bribe to the cancer corporations so they keep your substitute kidneys healthy. The rest is spent on dream improving drugs. After all, you’ve gotta stay current or get left behind. Get left behind and all your replacement parts get the fucking cancer. It’s a fierce ecology.
Just ask your chimera.
Right now, it’s wrestling over the prime real estate with other creatures of the same type. Winning some battles, losing others and every minute becoming obsolete. When it’s not fighting it’s desperately mating to birth fresh fantasies, hoping to get its own cash flow going, hoping to sell little monster dreams to other chimeras and save the money to buy an upgrade into full human status. It’s not likely. But it’s the only chance it has.
More likely, it’ll just collect wounds and weaken until the young drive it off into some death ghetto where it’ll be eaten and turned into compost by the garden trolls. Those god-damn garden trolls. With their pointy hats and big blind eyes, selling the compost back to humans as dream enhancing drugs. Always pricing it beyond reason.
Afflicted with yet another Winter plague, I spent the better part of the waking hours of the past four days burning through the DVD box-set of Neon Genesis Evangelion, a show I had missed first time round.
Whilst discussing this landmark anime with my buddy the daniel, he shared the story of how he had earnestly tracked down taped copies of the show from a “supernerd” in California.
This reminded me of my own experiences earlier in that last decade of the 20C, where in my fellow nerds had used IRC to organise tape exchanges, all to obtain the latest season of X-Files as it aired in the US. We would anxiously await the arrival of the latest tape full of episodes, and crowd around one of the few video players in the library capable of playing NTSC recordings.
Fast forward to the early 21C and we have a guy known as The Todd. The definition of an early adopter, he had shelled out for the first available ADSL connection, and would pass around the office VCD (and later SVCD!) copies of the latest US shows. This was how I first saw 24, Alias.. and Firefly in the original broadcast order that turned me off it for years to come, months or years before they aired in Australia.
But The Todd would not take requests, so I had to commit the worst sin of all, paying money to a grey re-seller “legally” importing content from Taiwan, to get my fix of GITS:SAC season1. Beautifully packaged, perfect broadcast quality DVDs with English subtitles that had gone through at least two languages translations beforehand. It was pretty, but barely comprehensible, yet I would still hand over $25 per disc.
Because someone always makes money on piracy, even if the legitimate owner isn’t. If it’s not the grey re-seller of yesterday, it’s the ISP of today selling 100Gb a month plans. It’s these profiteers that should that MPAA/RIAA etc should be going after, not the impatient consumer.
By the time season2 of GITS:SAC was airing, I finally had a broadband connection myself. Determined never to suffer the fate of incomprehensible subtitles again, I found a fan-subbing group I liked and stuck to it; even though that meant often horrendous gaps in between eps.
Like any good media pirate, I observe the Golden Rule - steal it now, buy it later, and have even taken my love of GITS:SACskin deep.
Each jump in tech has provided new and easier methods of piracy, with increased quality (HD .mkv’s anyone?). It is funny to think that as a generation comes online, the available standard will be the expected standard. I doubt a tween today even knows what a VCD is, let alone what to do with a VCR.
These are the shows I remember most at each turning point.
Now, it’s your turn.. what are your nostalgic tales of media piracy?
Birth Of A MicroNation, Part One: Declaration Of War
It was a cold afternoon on the 24th July that a new national flag was hoisted proudly toward a cloudy, winter sky. It’s founder, sole Citizen and Supreme Leader raised a three-finger salute as the wind caught the cerulean blue pillow case - haphazardly emblazoned with thirteen yellow stars encircling a silhoetted Neil Patrick Harris.
A single patriotic tear slid softly down his cheek at the momentous occasion.
Few people would be familiar with the Federated Commonwealth of Malatora - in fact, I myself had never heard of it until stumbling across their official webpage whilst enjoying my morning coffee.
Founded in 1995, FedCom is an egalitarian state favoring isolationism. They’ve developed a concise set of laws known as the Code Of Malatora, complex military protocol - even a variation of the World Calender wherein the epoch coincides with the year that mankind launched its first artificial satellite into orbit (1957AD = 0SE, Malatoran ‘Space Era’). Malatorian history showed that they had originated in the United States - however after realising the difficulty of succession, re-located to Australia, and in turn a 39.4 km2 plot in an undisclosed South African location.
What made Malatora stand out from other “new-nation projects” - was the transhumanist focus, what they call The CyberTransplantation Project.
To quote from their website:
The ultimate goal is to develop the technology to transplant a living human brain into a cybernetic total-body prosthesis. This technology will extend lifespans to 500 or more years, and render the individual (or “Cytran”) immune to all external disease and environmental effects, capable of immense strength, as well as being extremely durable and easily repaired.
A utopian society not only beyond the thrawls of capitalism - but founded with the sole purpose of advancing the human species towards the singularity.
The site seemed legitimate enough - least compared to the domains of other South African nations such as Zimbabwe. I read on.
Cytran bodies will be made available exclusively to FedCom citizens who want them. The technology will not be exported.
This latter fact, struck a chord. I’d already tried to lodge an application for citizenship within FedCom, but it seemed at the time that the domain server was experiencing technical issues. I attempted to contact FedCom’s Supreme Commander Robert Lord via his MySpace page - but instead was greeted by the pasty avatar of a twenty-five year old computer programmer from Indiana.
The only fathomable explanation was that the Malatorian Security Intelligence Organisation was blackwalling me - offering up this bogus account as a diversion, a complex means of subterfuge in effort of keeping the identity of their leader secret and hindering my quest to gain access to their secret cybernetic technology.
I returned to scouring the web for some way in which to enter discussions with this isolated society of minds - to no avail. Restricted discussion boards. Dead ends.
There was only one solution….
If FedCom wasn’t willing to share it’s research, I would form my own micronation - and take it by force.
Using some discarded linen, fabric paint and a desktop printer I completed the last of the six step guide ‘Founding A MicroNation’ on www.ehow.com - The Free Republic Of Shared Robotics (But No Roberts) was born.
It saddens me that the first diplomatic act as Supreme Leader should be one of war, but I am strong in my resolve. I shall fight to uphold the One Truth: if I can’t be a robot, no one can.
If you were like me, you found Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (And the superior SQUEE!) in a Hot Topic. It’s okay, you can admit it. The place had it’s time. Point being, it outlived Hot Topic, due to the quality of the work (Happy Noodle Boy aside).
There’s a reason Vasquez went on to assault the world (Thank fucking christ) with Invader Zim: He’s a comic genius. Funny funny funny guy. Smelly too, by all accounts. BUT, we’re not here to talk about that guy. Attention hog.
Y’see, Johnny, it seems, has his own Twitter. No, really. He’s found a means to reach us beyond the pages of the comics. He’s gone all technofied. Helps me fight through the monotony of my “real” job, getting random tweets from the unhinged lad. Vicarious murder never felt so good. A few faves, below.
"Keep hoping someone will, with their dying breath, let loose some cryptic lead about a treasure map. Thus far, nothing."
"You know, I’m older now, and I like to think wiser. Also, I made a guy dress up as a bear, lit him on fire and pushed him off a skyscraper."
"What is the deal with this weather? One minute it’s raining, the next you’re murdering a family of 4 in their home. Stability, please!"
"You think a person about to get their throat cut would appreciate some levity, but damned if my Leprechaun-style jig wasn’t for naught."
Okay, so those were all recent, but it presses my point, doesn’t it?
The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, and is probably at the upper limit of how big terrestrial animals with exoskeletons can become. The species inhabits the coastal forest regions of many Indo-Pacific islands, although localized extinction has occurred where the crab is sympatric with man. Generally nocturnal, they remain hidden during the day and emerge only on some nights to forage. Their body is divided into four regions; the cephalic lobe, forepart, trunk, and opisthosoma. It is a highly apomorphichermit crab and is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers to eat the contents. It is the only species of the genusBirgus.
It is also called the robber crab or palm thief, because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents.
Just in time for the start of the Japanese rainy season (tsuyu) the Samurai Umbrella is here! An umbrella that can be worn, sheathed and unsheathed like a samurai sword (katana) has become all the rage among Japanese men in their 30s and 40s.
Gear up and change a rainy day into a childhood dream! ;)
I’m going to combine two ideas here: that of cloud computing and that of wireless networks. In a lot of ways they depend on each other: cloud computing is certainly enhanced by wireless, and wireless has really come into its full through cloud computing. I feel that this combination is an important step in both technical progress and also the acclimatization of culture into this mindset of information and connectivity. However, I don’t believe our course will continue in this way.
I believe that in cities, where there are many people with personal devices, we will construct our own networks. Personal devices - laptops, desktops, phones, tablets, etc - can already connect without the help of the larger network. True, it’s an ability which is talked down and covered up by the larger networks, but it exists. We will start to construct our own networks. Devices are fast approaching the storage and processing capabilities to hold all of your personal information (and you can still collaborate via the network), so off-site storage will soon be unnecessary. What is to prevent the hackers, the makers from further developing and propagating city-wide stand-alone networks?
I do not believe this will replace connection points to wireless provided by larger corporations, at least not for quite some time. We are connected to each other regardless of geography, and this is not a situation I would like to see change. However, relying on those around you to connect to people would provide both a sense of geographical community (not to trump worldwide community, but only as another form of human interaction) as well as an independence from corporate-granted access to information.
As ridiculous as it sounds, and after the European Parliament clearly stated by the re-adoption of the amendment 138/46 that access to Internet was a fundamental right, the French National Assembly accepted the Hadopi bill.
The bill will directly reach the French Senate tomorrow, and will be probably voted the same way, without any surprise, since the French President N. Sarkozy made a point he wouldn’t allow another blow to his bill like the one he had in early april.
Guy Bono, in reaction to the vote, declared he will call the European Commission to challenge the French Government upon censoring the Hadopi, for being against the community rights.
Hadopi being supposed to protect the intellectual rights of “artists” during the digital revolution, I’ll leave the final words to someone I recognize as one, M.J. Keenan, the lead singer of Tool, who tweeted this, this afternoon, probably not about the Hadopi but oddly fitting in this context:
Danny sat quietly, a sporadic jerk the only thing punctuating his otherwise silent countenance. His left eye had gone milky white with cataract, his skin was a mottled yellow and sickly, and despite the fair temperature of the room on a fine spring morning, whispery rivulets of sweat snuck their way down his hot brow passed his earlobe until they found a hiding spot under his jaw.
Tiffany rolled the dice over the game board and took her turn, landing on a penalty space. She groaned while Kent snickered. “Stop laughing, Kent,” she gave him a mean look.
“I wouldn’t laugh if you weren’t such a stupid player,” he stuck his tongue out.
Tiffany did her best to ignore him and passed the dice to Danny. Or tried to anyway… for the umpteenth time.
“Danny if you don’t roll, Kent will win,” she cajoled half-heartedly. “You know you are the only one who can beat him,” she smiled, but it was a hard sell. Danny wasn’t looking so good. Maybe he was sick.
“Ah forget him!” Erica grabbed the dice from Tiffany’s outstretched hand. “Besides… he smells.” The third-grader was trying to hold her breath while playing but it was impossible as the bedroom window was open and Danny was closest to it. The otherwise soft breeze coming through it brought with it a putrid smell of something like the egg Ms Bircham had brought to class for a science experiment and let rot on purpose.
“He always smells!” chirped Louis, the fat kid from down the block with thick glasses.
“Stop it you guys! That’s not nice. Danny has is our friend!” Tiffany demonstrated.
Erica rolled ignoring the outburst; the only thing she was interested in was finishing the game. Her mother had promised she could go home after it was over. Why she even had to be here was beyond her. Today was piano lessons and she preferred them over playing stupid games with the other neighborhood kids. But she knew it was going to be a long game as she watched one of the dice bounce off the board and careened haphazardly under Danny’s pant leg. The look on her face went from one of haughtiness to open disgust.
“BWHAHAAA!” Kent began to laugh obnoxiously, a common and annoying habit of his.
Erica balled his fists and was ready to punch Kent in the nose when Tiffany stopped her. “It’s okay. I’ll get it,” with a smile.
But that just ticked Erica off more. She didn’t want to seem like a chicken in front of the others and Tiffany’s smug smile was too much.
As she reached forward stretching to reach the piece without getting too close, Danny’s breathing suddenly intensified. His breath hit her in the face like a brick wall—heavy and sickly sweet like her hospitalized Great-Grandmother Denyi who also smelled, like, well…
“Groooss!” Erica screeched and recoiled as drool dripped down from Danny’s open mouth onto the back of her hand. “I don’t wanna play no more! MOM!!!” She began to tear up.
The words were barely out of Erica’s mouth when Danny finally became animated. His head whipped in the direction of the young girl’s pleas for her mother to come get her and a deep, undeniable hunger took control…
Downstairs in the living room of Mrs Henders the screams could be clearly heard via the baby monitor she had hid under her daughter Tiffany’s bed.
The other mothers in the room with her all turned their attention toward it as well. Then came the unmistakable growling they had half-expected, half-feared, and the sound of running feet across the ceiling which ended in a desperate banging on the door at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor.
“Did you lock the door?” Carol, Louis’ mother asked her eyes somewhat bovine in complacency and worry.
“Of course,” Mrs Henders smiled, and reached for the nice China cup before her friend, “More tea?”
“Thank you, yes,” a relieved look crossed the woman’s face.
Erica’s mother spoke next, “I don’t mind this party ladies… in fact, I really appreciate it.” She looked down at the coffee table situated between them as if the words she sought might crystallize there before her, “I guess i just have my concerns.”
“Oh Fawn,” Mrs Lechenko reassured, “It’s no big deal. I took Danny to the dentist yesterday and had all his incisors capped so that while he’ll break the skin when he bites the other kids, he’ll just infect them, not eat.”
A smile and understanding giggling broke out among the ladies.
“I guess I’m just being silly. It really is such a relief to have this taken care of. I hear catching The Pandemic can be deadly in adults.”
“It can be,” Mrs Lechenko pointed out. “My own mother brought me to one of these parties when I was a young girl.”
Fawn fidgeted slightly and then laughed all over again, “By the way Jenny, this cake is absolutely fantastic.”
“Thank you, actually I got the recipe off Cake Net. They have all kinds of afternoon cakes.”
“Oh do you have the URL?” Carol quickly asked, not wanting to miss out.
“Just a moment, I think I have it here…” and she whipped out her PDA thumbing through her bookmarked sites to the children’s panicked screams.
This week, I want you to try to be relevant. It’s up to you to decide what is relevant for you and your followers, but I have a few suggestions to help you out. 1. Filtering yourself is the first and foremost. Everything which follows is just examples of this. 2. Unless it’s an emergency, wait at least 15 minutes to post something. If you forget it or it no longer matters, it probably wasn’t relevant. 3. If it’s only to one person, and not relevant to others, give them a text or a DM or an e-mail, don’t crowd public space with private conversation 4. Balance the informational and the personal. The point is to filter what you put out, not to filter the experiences you have. 5. Being passive aggressive or round-about online is so satisfying, isn’t it? But it’s petty and doesn’t accomplish anything, making it non-relevant.
We alter our values by altering the way we act. While it’s not an extremely slippery slope to occasionally vent about your cat peeing on your rug, or how cute that same cat can be, not having that as the main topic of your conversations will encourage you to create more things of value, and to have exchanges with people who are attempting to do the same. If you’re being responsible about the content you pass on to people who follow what you have to say, their content consumption will improve, and that helps you out as well. We’re all products of our environment, so decide what kind of environment you want to build and live in.
Other things to start on, besides your own projects: giving credit where credit is due, which includes tracing origins, and asking for permission to use others’ works. While it’s good to build on previous works, it’s also important to respect the original intent.
Logical Techno Manners: The Modern Master is Not Your Mother and the Modern Slave is Not Your Friend
We’ve all suffered below him. The back-slappy, happy manager who calls you buddy, wonders why you aren’t smiling and crawls all up in your bidness. And we’ve all suffered above them. The goofy, flare-wearing worker who believes friendliness is a substitute for competence.
At my job, I was once smoking Dunhill’s Aperitif blend and a co-worker looked at the tin.
“Which one are you?” she asked.
“What time is it?” I replied.
Although we live in a society where we are masters one minute and slaves the next, we have almost completely lost the ability to decently perform either role. I blame the boomers. Their primitive notions of equality have not actually created equality. They’ve simply added a layer of bullshit to our unequal relationships.
It’s no longer enough that you do your job well. You now have to hold your master’s hand while they do theirs. It’s no longer enough that you give an order to a servant. You now have to smile and express interest in their humanity. It’s an utter waste of time.
People have always been uncomfortable being commanded but now they are uncomfortable with command. They either act like blatant assholes or pernicious douchebags. They think they need to shout at you or be your best buddy to get anything done. The sad thing is, given the state of the serving classes, they are often right.
When it comes to master-slave relations, all the trust is gone.
Our forebears were able to trust the system they’d created. It was static, oppressive and simple. Everyone knew their place and they sure as hell better know they knew it. That, of course, had its own problems. But we now inhabit a different sort of hell.
Although our system is oppresive it is not static and it i far from simple. Everyone is a special little snowflake who either expects exceptional effort or exceptional treatment without understanding the conventions. This has left us in a blizzard of incompetence.
In my own life, I’ve spent quite a few hours on both sides of the bar, being served and serving. And if there’s one thing I have come to appreciate on either side, from master or servant, it is formality. Defined as a “rigorous or ceremonious adherence to established forms, rules, or customs”, it is also a way of maintaining respectful distance.
Being an asshole is well understood. Shouting, bullying and molesting the servants is self-evidently an abuse of power and therefore wrong. But what most people fail to understand is that being too friendly is also a form of assholery, an abuse of power and an act of entitlement. Like kissing a whore on the mouth, it is mutually demeaning.
It demeans the servant because they cannot actually be your buddy. Since school, you’ve had it pounded into your head that we’re all equals and, perhaps on some abstract level, this is true. But when money is being exchanged with a wage-earner who has a manager breathing down their neck and a job at stake, it certainly is not. There is no equality there. You are free to be you. They are not free to be them.
Pretending that they are is insulting.
Believe me, you do not want anything except lies from your servants. Nothing ruins dinner like the truth.
I suspect that most people who are too friendly believe their behaviour is not only fine but commendable. Being fundamentally condescending, they are too ignorant to realize that the staff has to pretend to like them. The servants have no choice but to endure. They are not free to say what they want and what they often want to say is: Why are you wasting my time?
When a customer who is not a regular or a buddy calls me buddy – the regulars and my buddies know better— I often think: So tonight I’m going to come over to your place, you’ll serve me drinks and food then I’ll pay you for it? Is that friendship?
When they ask my name, I often wonder what possible reason they have for doing so. That information is irrelevant. Like a stripper, I use a fake one. I have to go home with my name. I do not want it to carry you along like some brain-eating parasite.
Although I can imagine a few situations where a customer might actually need to know my name, I cannot imagine a single situation that I want to be a part of. A major portion of my job is making sure such information remains absolutely irrelevant. If you need my name, perhaps to shout it at me or to lodge a complaint with my superior, then I’ve lost control of the room, made a major error or you’re a simple prick. I have no need to be reminded of these situations.
To be a good master, one must cast off all the conventions of equality. One must understand and appreciate their power without abusing it. They must understand and appreciate the condition of their servant. It is servitude. There is no need to pretend otherwise. Simply respect your position and its incumbent responsibilities. Your job is not to be a friend. It’s to be sensible and just.
Do not get familiar and in time you may become familiar.
Likewise, to be a good servant, one must understand that no one should ever have to care about your personal problems nor hear your unsolicited opinions. They should simply be able to give an order –a reasonable order— and have it followed. You are furniture. You simply need to work.
Just as the master must be just, the servant must be trusty.
Like it or not, we all have roles and it’s best to play them well. There’s no telling when they will reverse.
(Note: Tumblr is entirely counter-intuitive to me. I began blogging with LJ. Hence, my posts here will undoubtedly be less…sleek, than other’s. Instead of beating my head against my comp, I’m settling with just links, and no vids. I just work here. Blame management.)
Yep. Child of the eighties. Transformers. Kreepy Krawlers. Garbage Pail Kids. My Pet Monster. Inhumanoids. Boglins. You name it, I was obsessed with it. I still geek out every now and then, over those bygone gems, but with the rerelease of MADBALLS, I GLEE-creamed my fanboy panties. Wait…no, that’s totally how it went down.
A little history: http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0678/
Original ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvfYcZ8GAVM
New advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEhYenr5sCU&feature=related
Official relaunch site: http://www.madballs.com/home.action#
They’ve even cropped up in a recent video game: http://kotaku.com/5124059/madballs-added-to-game-that-was-about-angry-balls-anyway
Yes, there was an old 8bit game too:
Their return pleases me. Instead of teaching my son the pleasures of fishing…I’ve introduced him to gross-out toys. Just as important, I know you’re murmuring in agreement with me. I can hear the din with my uber cyborgy Internaut ears. There was a particular sickness infused in the toys of the Goonies decade. A gooey, sticky, boggish ick factor sadly missing from today’s bevy of bland playtime offerings, geared towards wee ones.
So, what the hell happened? Why’ve we become so sanitized? This is a larger issue, clearly, but let’s, for the moment, investigate the matter from this perspective. I remember talking Freddy Krueger dolls on shelves, people. Not “action figures”. DOLLS. Does everything our children consume have to be sugary safe and Disneyfied? I’m the last person to pass gas in front of ANYONE. But c’mon, poo humor is funny. I defy you to prove me wrong. More importantly, KIDS think that stuff’s hilarious. My gobs can’t go a day without giggling over something toilet-related, or similarly gross subjects. It’s what children do.
My boy’s been so keen on MadBalls that he’s got half the new run, through being paid for happily doing chores he typically loathes. None of his other fave toys have ever had him chomping at the bit, the way this disgusting lot has. If bell bottoms can come back into style and stay, let’s hope this hint of resurgence in 80s gruesome playthings is a sign of more to come. I’m tired of kids fixating on Bakugan and Bratz.