Thu, 26 Aug 2004top
flesh is weak
Given my current work schedule (11 hour days on average with a few 30 hour days) I have lost all sense of time and place. I wake up not knowing what time it is, whether it is late in the evening or early in the morning before the sun is up, whether it is spring, summer, or fall (in this land of no winter.) I wake up not knowing where exactly I am, since I've only been living here for three months now. I have dreams about the cities I have lived in, the separate lives I have led. Everything feels so remote, both in time and place.
I feel like every part of my mind is drifting apart from each other. Sort of the like the universe expanding, with more and more empty space in between.
To summarize: I may very well be losing my mind.
Mon, 16 Aug 2004top
elusivity of the muse
There are a million things I want to write about, things I need to put down into words simply to give my thoughts form. If I do not fix them down, pin them to cardboard like wriggling entymological specimens, they'll keep pestering me, flitting this way and that.
Some would counsel to leave well enough alone, and that would certainly be the easiest thing to do.
But I worry that my habit of ignoring my emotional reaction to events is leading to the calcification of my soul.
What worries me most is that I have not been able to write. Oh, the desire, the need to write rears it head not infrequently, and, dizzy with need, I will throw down ill-considered lines, as subtle as cinderblocks, and just as heavy and graceless, too.
I cannot make my words float anymore.
And this is where the self-doubt creeps in.
I can't help but wonder if I really ever had the knack for crafting the turn of phrase, of smoothing a thought into a lyric. Maybe it was all just a solipsistic conceit, and it's only now that I'm realizing the hollowness of my work.
Still, I must write, even if it is painful and forced.
I suppose I've always known that inspiration can only get you so far.
Saturday night I had this illusory sensation that the world was changing. This is where the words run out, and the closest thing I can turn to is the description of sci-fi motifs.
Like the raster line of a television set, a computer monitor, except three dimensionalized. The raster line of God. Photons, electrons, gravitons, focusing like a beam, refreshing every single bit of matter. Reaffirming its existence, lest it flicker and fade away, like the dying phosphor traces of a television screen turned off.
Say simply, that there was a glitch in the Matrix.
With my current obsession with quantum gravity, I can't help but think of it as an artistic representation of how Schroedinger's wavefunction collapses. As certain probabilities get ruled out, the nature of the world-at-large changes. Some waveforms disappear, and what we commonly call reality "crashes out" like precipitate crashing out from an overladen solution.
I want to say that, at last, I am free. That an episode of my life has finally and irrevocably come to an end. But I've said that before, a thousand times before, and I find myself dragged into loony-toon drama. So I say it with reservation.
I do fear that it will never end. That the repercussions of that deep, hopeless autumn will continue to reverberate and echo throughout all of space-time, and I will never be able to escape its ripples as long as I live.
It's like the surf, the flotsam and the jetsam of the quantum foam.
You ride the waves as best as you can, and sometimes you will wipe out.
Things really would just be easier if I became a monk.
So now I sit in the darkness, wakened from an involuntary nap spanning the waning daylight hours. I've sat and contemplated. I realize that, at least lately, I can only really do my deep thinking while I'm barreling down the highway at 80 mph, with my iPod providing the soundtrack for my ruminations. And I've had a lot of time to think. Nothing conclusive really. The only thing that really motivates me as of late is the avoidance of pain. Let sleeping dragons lie.
Maybe dragons really don't exist, but you still walk as if on eggshells.
In this stillness, letting the cool marine breeze waft over me, I ponder my solitude, wonder if this is the best I can achieve. If this is the most fertile state of mind to be in.
I begin to wonder if there is something masochistic about my need to write. How the words only seem to come easily when something inside me gets broken, crushed, or ruptured. In this state of dull, torpid contentment—I hesitate to use that word, but I will do so unapologetically from now on—the words come off my tongue like briars, having to be pulled off one by one, prickly with brambles.
Each word, which I felt I used to be able to freight with gravid meaning, each word, which was as precious as silver, as incisive and crystal clear as a diamond blade, is now nothing than its constituent pieces. It requires horrendous effort simply to string these little bits together, to fashion them with some meaning much less beauty. Little puffs of air is all I've got, and the wind just rips them apart. They dissipate in the void.
Is this just a function of where I'm at on my particular spiritual journey? Wandering forty days and forty nights through the bleak, hopeless desert? Is the promised land really just past that horizon?
Or should I just get used to this ascetic lifestyle of wandering around the desert, forever eschewing the fellowship of humanity, and the hope that the rain will soon come?
So mostly, I sit here worrying needlessly as to whether the next stage will suddenly creep up on me and possibly eat me, or whether that's all there is and there ain't no mo'. Am I to remain vigilant, waiting perhaps years and decades for something that I am losing faith in? Or do I just give in to the torpor, the ennui of existentialism? That this is all there is, and anything else is illusion and possibly lunacy.
I truly have very little faith these days. That in itself doesn't really bother me, but I kind of wonder if there will be horrific long-term sequelae for getting too used to not caring.
Wed, 11 Aug 2004top
eating your relatives
Dude. This is one seriously fucked up family. As if goosing a woman is a worse offense than eating your cousin.top
insomnia - episode iii
I have to wake up in four hours.
Not being able to sleep is cruel, lonely torture.
Tue, 10 Aug 2004top
leverage and the ipod
John Gruber's essay on Daring Fireball about the mythical Apple vs. Microsoft conflict illuminates the late history of the personal computer. Few probably remember that before the Macintosh and before MS-DOS—in the early history of the personal computer—there were several personal computer vendors such as Commodore, Tandy, Atari, as well as the IBM (with their PC) and Apple (with the Apple II) and they all pretty much had similar market shares. Homogenization was only apparent in the business world, and back in the day, personal computer was more synonymous with home use. From the business perspective, IBM (later supplanted by the combination of Intel and Microsoft) was really just breaking into a market previously dominated by UNIX and CP/M, which, in reality, is a wholly different paradigm compared to what personal computers had been up to that time.
Eventually, UNIX was proclaimed dead (and it may well have been, if not for the Free Software Foundation and the GNU suite of tools, which allowed the various open source BSDs to exist, and which eventually spawned Linux—but that's another tale to tell.) The personal computer (in the avatar of IBM PC-DOS and later Microsoft's MS-DOS) had defeated the mainframes and the minicomputers. The client-server model was obsolete, and the x86 platform reigned. (Oh, the irony, huh?)
In this context, you could interpret the popularity of Windows simply as Intel and Microsoft leveraging their dominance in the business world into dominance in the home.
In this saga, I think Apple's only real direct competitor was Commodore, who came out with the awesome machine known as the Amiga. Interestingly, the Macintosh and the Amiga ran on similar hardware (that is, on Motorola-based processors) Who knows how history would've changed if Commodore had managed to stay alive?
John Gruber makes the dichotomy that Apple is idealistic, whereas Microsoft is pragmatic, and uses the way they leverage (or don't leverage) their success to extend their dominance as examples of their philosophy. In betting terms, this is known as the parlay—of taking all your previous winnings and laying it all down on the next wager. Microsoft has succeeded so far with parlaying their OS monopoly on x86-based hardware through various evolutions (from MS-DOS to Windows XP) and using this OS domiance to corner the market on productivity suites—with the behemoth known as MS Office. If you think about it, Microsoft really doesn't do that much more than these two products—the OS and the office suite. Everything else has been icing on the cake, or more frequently, have been horrific blunders and miserable failures.
In contrast, Gruber notes that Apple has seemingly never relied on the parlay to create their products. The Macintosh in reality directly competed with their more popular Apple II series. The Newton was intended to be a desktop computer replacement rather than the adjunct that PDAs are. NeXT Step was a clean break from Mac OS.
Maybe the iPod isn't really that different, but thinking about it makes a different paradigm apparent.
Perhaps because Apple has not been chasing the holy grail known as market share, they have been able to muster a different kind of resource. I do not think it would be exaggeration to say that Apple's greatest resource is its reputation of creating innovative products, backed by actual creative talent to implement their ideas. It has become conventional wisdom that, while Apple products are not cheap or as popular, they are certainly pretty and generally awesome. Again, the Macintosh, the Newton, the Powerbook, and the iBook are cases in point. (As an aside, I would hazard to say that Sony had a similar reputation up until they became beholden to the bottomline and the corporate culture. Hence the failure of their Walkman mp3 player, but that's quite tangential.) I think these are the resources that Apple successfully parlays. And thus the iPod was born.
While the first two generations were completely beholden to Apple hardware, now at the height of its popularity, the iPod isn't really tied to the Macintosh either. But it should be noted that the iPod's marketshare among mp3 players was already significant before they rolled out their cross-platform products. Who knows what would've happened if they had continued to tie the iPod to the Mac?
For once, it appears the Apple is actually being pragmatic.
So the iPod spawned the iTunes Music Store. The convergence of Airport and iTunes (few will remember that Apple was one of the first to embrace the 802.11b and now the 802.11g standard) has led to the Airport Express (which, at $129, is reasonably priced for a USB print server, and is reasonably priced as a wireless access point/wireless network extender, and is reasonably priced as an mp3 streaming device, and the wonderfully awesome thing is that you get all three in a package that is barely larger than a power supply brick.)
Hopefully, the innovations will continue, though, and Apple will continue to be unafraid of breaking from the past. With this in mind, hopefully they will never be dependent upon the parlay.top
market share is bogus
When you enter certain realsm, such as computers, normal measures of profability are completely unreliable. It makes sense to think of market share if you're selling, let's say, Coca-Cola, but as luxury car manufacturers will tell you, who otherwise really cares? After all, the measure of a successful business has never been market share. (Would you really have considered the U.S. Postal Service—prior to privatization—a successful business despite having a market share of nearly 100%?) Success is and always has been measured by profitability, and if your balance sheet has more black ink than red at the end of the year without having to resort to Enron-like tactics, then that's a pretty good success.
Yet, despite basic business and economic common sense, otherwise intelligent people continue to push the idea of market share as the ultimate measure of dominance.
Daring Fireball deconstructs the myth, using the example of the Macintosh, and how the idea of licensing what later became known as Mac OS doesn't make that much sense.
Mon, 09 Aug 2004top
who gives a flying fuck?
M reminds me of missed opportunities, of not having enough courage to steal a kiss, and of the eternal recrimination that comes thereof.
I kind of wonder, though, if the reason that I don't give a damn is simply medication-mediated, or if I'm really just losing it.
Whatever the case, it certainly can't be healthy.
Still, I guess I'll ride this feeling of numbness out as long as I can.
At least it beats feeling depressed.top
genius and insanity
Found on Gura's blog:
This is synchronistic only because I have been inexplicably enthralled by the search for the theory of quantum gravity. I am also reminded of the very apt observation: "There is a fine line between genius and insanity."
And then there is Bukowski's wonderful quote as well.
Sat, 07 Aug 2004top
apologia for laziness
I'm not being lazy. I'm just thinking.
This extract from How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkins narrates the inception of the tyranny of the time clock due to the Industrial Revolution, touches upon biology and human physiology with the notion that not everyone's pineal gland is set in the same time zone, and notes that idle hands are not the playground of the devil as the Puritans would have us believe, but are rather the crucible of revolution and enlightenment, and by extension, are the progenitors of democracy and egalitarianism. Productivity is the true opiate of the masses. He who works need not think, is plugged into the System, and submerged in the Matrix.
Long live the idler!top
it all makes sense now
found on eye8infiniti:
What tarot card are you?
I am The Hermit
The Hermit often suggests a need for time alone - a period of reflection when distractions are limited. In times of action and high energy, he stands for the still center that must be created for balance. He can also indicate that withdrawal or retreat is advised for the moment. In addition, the Hermit can represent seeking of all kinds, especially for deeper understanding or the truth of a situation. "Seek, and ye shall find," we have been told, and so the Hermit stands for guidance as well. We can receive help from wise teachers, and, in turn, help others as we progress.
For a full description of your card and other goodies, please visit LearnTarot.com
What tarot card are you? Enter your birthdate.
I've been using the Page of Pentacles as my significator, but perhaps it's time to choose one more to my character.
To anyone who knows me, the Hermit probably explains a lot.
It is unlikely that I will creep out from under my shell anytime soon.
Tue, 03 Aug 2004top
nine inch nails "closer"
Help me! I've broke apart my insides. Help me! I've got no soul to sell.
Mon, 02 Aug 2004top
my old friend, fear
I don't know if it is purely psychosomatic, or if there is some quasiobjective reality to my sensation of flux. Like the axis of the earth has shifted ever so slightly, causing the wind to subtly change.
Instead of performing the activities of daily living that I should be performing, I am instead paralyzed by an irrational emotional inertia.
The more I dwell on it, the more I don't want to do it.
So, who knows, maybe this change in my medication is not agreeing with me, and it is somewhat depressing to realize once again that I am truly nothing but a clockwork orange. Better living through chemistry, indeed.
So, once again, the mail remains unopened, the bills remain unpaid. For no good reason. Instead, I am surreptitiously typing away into this ridiculous blog, unreasonably hoping that somehow destiny will look away this hour.
I am so mind-fucked. I would be really hilarious if it wasn't happening to me. (As they say, everything is funny so long as it isn't happening to you.)
Maybe (although I know better than to hope tomorrow when I should be doing today) I'll get my ass in gear after a decent night of sleep.