Dec 22, 2013

Vous. [ne comprenez pas]

How does it feel, she asked Magneto, to be magnetic?  To be able to feel the draw of others toward you?  To exhale and move the planet a little bit to the left or right, depending on your whimsy.

You've got a gravitational pull, a force inside of you that not many others know how to match.  How do you know which direction to go in, which is the right one?  How do you know how to stay a float of the currents of gravity that tug on us all each day?  Doesn't the force of the earth bending downward over power your senses at times?  What's it like Magneto, what's it like?

[vous. ne comprenez pas.]

Dec 18, 2013

Sound off

Salient thoughts of the last fortnight:

Laziness is naught but dissatisfied contempt for the present situation. Mixed with a healthy dose of helplessness.

Fire and damnation await us not.

Is doing living?

If the first step in your plan is "wait for... ", it's time to start looking at plan B.

Nov 3, 2013

ZC, halfbaked

There is trouble when trying to understand myself and the world around me, I end up wrapped up in my own head.  Can you be a mystery even to yourself?  Or better yet, would you want to be?  Given that you could. That you could be a self-knowing mystery.

Quick, she asked, tell me a secret.  A real one, no cheating.  What does it take to make a secret?  If no one knows, then it is a secret.  If everyone knows, then it's just a piece of life.  Segredos.

Gredos.  Like Grecos.  Gregorian.

The year was 852 ZC. (wouldn't it be cool, she thought, if this were a novel of a novelist writing a novel.  she feels her brain skim along like happiness and the bottom of her soul pick up, ,for the first time in what may be months.  perhaps even a year).  Cameron relaxed back into his captain's chair, really just a seat in front of a terminal, but he called it his captain's chair.  From there he regaled the universe, one piece at a time.  Or rather, one screen at a time.  (Pixel refresh rate on a modern Mac is obsolete.  They're now measured in clock cycles of your GPU -- graphics processing unit).

(What are you afraid of? So many things.  The novel that will never get written.  The novel that does.  The one thing, he said, that sets me apart isn't that I do things.  It's that I finish them.)

ZC stood for Zone Counts, a strange telexscoping calendar that was created by the small sect of time warriors that Cameron belonged to.  Fed up with the homogenous nature of Gregorian calendars, and unwilling to bend their sleep schedules to fit the hegemony of the central mandate of a Monday to Friday, instead the time warriorites switched to a metered telescoping time.  Hazel, the main instigator, or as the collective liked to think of her, time architect, based the system on the concept of spiral springs.  Moments oscillated, said Hazel, and so should the way that we mark time.  To base our understanding of our universe on an orbit of the sun, while practical in terms of crop raising and god praising, makes no sense in this time less, metered meritocracy that we call modern life.  My time is no longer ruled by the sun, why too must the way that I mark the days?

Hazel sat down in the front of the group.  They had been called together tonight to discuss what Hazel wanted to term time scoping.  Cameron picked up the telephone from the wall, plugged it into his cell, and phoned his mother to let her know that he was going to be home late.  The conversion of time from ZC to Greggers (as they termed it later), was not yet necessary as they were about to create it.  (Is it better for a system to already be in place, or would it be better for the reader to be there in the process of seeing the system take place?  It's far easier for me just to describe how the system works (though to be honest I'm not quite sure yet, I'm just typing things out as they come to mind, as semi-compelling as that is).  Every thought is a token that I spend, on you. On me.  On all of us.  If we argue about a thing, how much do I need to be right?  See a doctor about the throbbing in your head).  Cameron phoned his mother.  Well, how late do you think that you'll be out, she asked?  Cameron gave a number, arbitrarily.  21 hundred hours, Mom.  He said.  Did she want to know because she was worried about him?  As a way to judge his allegiance to her love by clocking his arrival against the promise that he had made?  Or was it merely a way for her to mark her own time in the evening, to give meaning to the passing of her own moments?  (Selfish, selfish.)

Cameron returned to the small knot of people gathered around Hazel's bedroom.  There were about six all told, friends from uni.  They had graduated or dropped out or never started together about four years ago.  None of them had regular jobs -- they were all contractors or free lances or just plain unemployable.  Time oscillating, Hazel was saying.  Remember when, she said, you were just a child.  How does your mind understand time?  Or rather, isn't your understanding of time telescoping all of the time, as a function of your having lived it?  At one minute of life, your entire frame of reference for what "time" is, is exactly one minute.  At an hour, your concept of how time passes is just that.  An hour.  Can you imagine living for longer, for putting your time at any different amounts?  What is it to only have ever lived an hour?  Or a month?  Or a year?  Does time seem to pass more slowly for you, each moment drawn out as a pebble in a brook or a stream?  Is this why as a child, an hour television show is murder, it's the longest thing that you've ever experienced, and as you get older a three hour lecture is merely another way of spending a day?  The child sits then, at one end of the spring of oscillating time scopes.  They can imagine what time would be like a month or a week out, but to expand that into a year, or a decade -- there's no basis for the extrapolation.  Children, with their telescoped understanding of time, experience life more real.  In a moment to moment basis, spontaneously.  And so they see life not as a set of months to be conquered or weekends to be enjoyed and treasured or afternoons to set aside and enjoy and escape from, but as an endless plateau of existing.

Hazel had all of our eyes now.  Time wasn't standing still, but just by hearing the words that she spoke reality seemed a bit clearer.  The urgency of leaving, of meeting his mother, at least for Cameron, slowed down.  The ticks of the clock seemed less fatal.  (Fate. Fatal.  Fatalistic.)

So how would ZC even work?  How can you replicate a telescoping time with a calendar?  Answer, you can't.  Should time be divided up by (Expostion! I write, she said, to show off.  I am a tease.  I am a performer.  ANd in performing I need others to see me as in movement.  I need validation of the movement, of the thinking.  I need you to see that I am.  I AM.  am i?)

We can't replicate moment counting as telescoping, but by altering our calendar from a metered pace to something that is more fluid, as we experience time, we'll reinstate an ability to live every day for the sake of it being a day, and not for the sake of it being an event on the calendar.  Celebrations will happen when we feel that they should -- as time and experience dictate.  Zoned because rather than days, we'll live in zones  Each person gets his or her own zone, to cycle through as you want to.  There'll be no metering.  At the beginning of a morning, when you wake up, the units of the day will be decided by the first song that you play on the radio, or that you choose from the banks of the ZC server hub.  Since everyone will be on a different clock, they'll all have to be managed centrally by the time share server that we all use.  You can discover what a person's day is to be filled with based on their personal home page on the site.  It'll also take care of marking engagements with the person on their personal calendar.

But we're a community still, Joa piped in.  If we're all on different time clocks, will we not all be lost to the sands, each man in his own individual world and understanding of that?  Is that not antithetical to the way that we live, as friends, as a community?  (Common unity.)

Hazel sat silently for a moment, realizing that Joaoa had a point.  They were in a meeting altogether presently.  How could she forget about that?  She agreed with Joa.  Alright, then, she said.  How do you propose that we all stay on the same time, and yet still manage to escape from the hegemony of the time clock Gregorian?  Jao hesitated for a moment, visibly thinking.  (Time stood still.  The writer flexed her feet, yawned, felt the lumps in her throat. Sore for the past ten weeks.  Most definitely cancer, she thought.  How long do I have to live?  Four decades, whispered back the fates.  Count them with me. One. Two. Three. Four.)

Alright, said Joa, what is we each meter days to our own liking.  Each day will still be composed of 24 hours (sun we cannot shake you) but instead of weeks, we'll do days in zoned pods.  A year will consist of one complete revolution of the moon.  So instead of tracking time by years and the sun, we'll track our months on the lunar scape.  A week, instead of 7 days (7 is so long! 7 is lucky. 7 is strange), we'll divide our time up into pods of 3 and then 4.  One day off at the end of every pod.  So two days of work. One day off.  Three days of work.  One day off.  (Could I swing it, she thought?  Is this even possible?  What would that look like, in line with the lives of others.  If it helps me to keep my understanding of the world in check, I think that there is no problem with it.)  It needs to be, they agreed, at least analogous to what others do and did, but They should be free to set the rules as they saw them.  Days would have different names, just to break up the monotony of living in tightly bookended days.  (3 days on. One off. Two days on. One off.)  (It's not about being different, it's about living with a different set of eyes.)  Days will be called by whatever you want them to be, and instead of being numbered, they'll be symbolified.  Each day within a cycle will get its own symbol.  So that instead of things in a series, we'll be encouraged to think of each day as separate and unique in its own right.  No order given, no numbers on the calendar.  Count downs will be considerably more difficult to do.  The end of days will be nothing more than a sunset.  (Marking time not so that you may mark the number until you are done, but to keep track of how and why and when a life has been lived).

(What is metaphysical?)

Nov 2, 2013

Nanonite

There is a beam of sunlight on the wall in front of me.  It's bright and my fuzzled brain is confused by it.  The brightness of it stands in stark contrast to the warm glow the other sunbeams that are caught by the curtain are giving off.  The edges of the beam are fuzzy, wavering as the draft pushes its curtained boundaries left and then right.  It dances on the wall, a slow wandering back and forth in a dazed shuffle.

Hungover. My brain too wavers like the sunbeam, dancing back and forth on the wall.  Slipping out of my grasp, ability to string pieces of reality together, all here but not intact.  The light goes dim as the sun passes behind a cloud, and Latina pop blares from the street below.

My fingers forget how to type.  Pecking at the keyboard in random fascination.  Life is too short to be lived typing on a keyboard such as this is, clacking and almost put together.  Or is life merely long enough to be sitting here typing out on a keyboard.

What is writing?  I've been talking about it a lot lately, how I'm going to write a novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  It started yesterday and all I have so far is a bunch of words about the sunshine on the wall in front of my face.  Some people say that it's a hard thing, talk about how they craft stories and put a certain amount of intention into it.  A thing that you've considered and thought through.  That's a hard way to do it, but when I do the words come across more cleanly.  It's hard to think of stories as composed things, of pieces that are put into place one right after the other.  I've only ever written short stories, things that take not as much time or effort to put it all together.  They jump into my brain semi-fully formed, these ideas of monsters and cows and small children crying to their parents about how there's just not enough time in the day to be worried about how many vegetables are left on their plate.

A friend sent me a short story recently about a fellow that he had met.  It was strange in that it was a recounting of a thing that he had experienced.  Not so much strange as just different from the sort of thing that I've ever been able to write.  It was an accounting of an experience, a drawing of a character that he had met in his travels.  It was, as far as I could tell, a real person.  The story was well written, well composed.

Composed.  Put together.  Thought through as pieces, and then repositioned at the end to make some kind of logical sense that, all together, told a story.  An accounting of a real life thing.

I'm thinking of Spencer and how he was writing the next great American novel.  What does that even mean?  To write the next great American novel.  Composition is hard.

When David Foster Wallace sat down to write Infinite Jest, do you think that he had the whole thing in his brain fully formed or that it just kind of flowed as he got it down on paper?  That's the greatest thing about fiction, is that you can flow with it in whatever direction that you want.  But composition.  It needs to all make sense at the end.

If a monkey can bang on a keyboard, and eventually (given enough time and permutations of the alphabet) eventually re-produce a Shakespearean work, isn't it just faster and easier to have Shakespeare do it?  Why not just get him to write the damn thing than let chance take its toll with it.  Think about it -- maybe Shakespeare was 'god's' Shakespearian monkey.  Or chance's.  Or life's.

I read a cool thing about light the other day.  About how it decides where to go, and how it's all based on probability.  Light is spherical.  It moves not as a ray, but as a probablistic machine, that follows the rules of where it's expected to end up.  (What do you mean that light is not directional?  Did we always know that light is a sphere?  How did it take us such a long time to figure out what Feynman did?  Was it because the rules of probability were too fantastical (what makes a thing fantastical?) for us to consider?  (What makes a thing metaphysical?).

What did Feynman discover?  He discovered that the rules of light and photons follow that of probability.  And that light would be where its probability said that it would go.  Therefore following the probability of a thing made it so.

Thinking is hard.  Exposition is easy.

Why think?  Why put my brain into contortions to try and understand a thing?  (If you can't talk or write about it, did you ever really understand it?)

Given a few gates, leading to a destination, how will the light get to the destination?  Or rather, how much light will get to the destination?  If we observe and measure how the light is arriving at each of the gates, then we will know exactly how much that there is arriving, and that will be the amount that arrives at the destination.  But if we allow the light to arrive on its own, without measuring it at each of the gates, it takes the probabilistic path and it uses all of the gates, in such a way that we don't even know where the light is going, what path it's taking.  All that we know is that it arrives, and the amount that arrives is equivalent to the probability that it would arrive at all.

Two conclusions to be drawn from this: 1) The universe knows when it's under observation.
2) We create our own reality (by choosing to observe, or not observe, the light on its path - we've altered how the light behaves.)

The beam on the wall is gone.  I moved the curtain, and now it's just a softly lit room.

Oct 25, 2013

Homicide

I had this dream, she said, but I found that it needed to be killed. Dried out and left to wither on the vine wasn't enough. It needed an exorcism, a cutting out. Like a murder, an ending of a life's hope and possibility in a spray of blood and spine cracking thrashing.

So I exorcized it, she said pointing to the deep furrows in her brow and the bags beneath her eyes, purple like three day old bruises.

Oct 19, 2013

Le Lola

The full moon cast long shadows down low over the horizon.  Lola stared at it wistfully out her bedroom window, her stomach grumbling on the afghan that lay spread across the top of her bed.  She rolled over to tie her shoes, humming the last few snatches of Evita's Don't Cry for Me as she laced on her bright blue sandals.  Her mom growled up the stairs - Lola, are you ready for bed yet?  Lola groaned and whined back, almost!  Going to close the door of her bedroom, she yawned, and ran down to tell her mother good night.

Not finding her mother downstairs, she found herself drawn again to the window.  The moon filled the pane, a solid pale yellow suspended in the inky purple blackness that was the sky that late October evening.   Her mother seemed to have wandered into the back of the house yet, Lola found herself drawn out onto the small square lawn at the front of their clapboard family home, her sandals skimming the dewed grass.  It was a night dew, dripping from the blades.  Without giving it much thought her feet turned themselves toward the street, skipping aimlessly down her drive to the avenue.

The wind picked up and she shivered, uncertain of where she was heading.  Her nose picked up the scent of something earthen, like the sweet rot of new mulch, and the bodily smell of burning incense.  Her stomach grumbled again  -- strange to be hungry so late in the night. There was a faint howling coming up the east walk, someone's labrador letting loose in the heady glow of the rising moon.  She cowled for a moment, hesitated.  The howl came again, lower, a yogic ohm of midnight mystery.  Without hesitation, Lola's feet turned themselves in the direction of the sound, then she was skipping, then running along the ground, blue sandals leaving a trail of dewed footsteps across the neighboring lawns.

--

Within a few minutes, she was at the foot of a large hill, staring up at a dark figure near the top of it.  It was Paulo, her friend from physics class.  She now remembered that they had agreed to meet, here tonight.  He had the camera obscura equipment with him, and she found herself in its cross hairs as she approached.  He yelled something to her, what she didn't quite hear, but suddenly she felt unsure of herself.  Without another step, she crouched on the ground, resting on her heels as she stared more closely at the cloaked figure standing behind the large black box.  This was the place that they were to meet -- the top of the highest hill at Jone's Park.  The park was a few blocks from both of their houses nestled in a copse of trees.  The hill they were on was treeless and near the middle of the park, a great observation point for their grand experiment of measuring and capturing the phases of the moon.

The moon project had originally been Paulo's idea.  Their professor had just started their chapter on gravity -- tidal waves and Lagragian points had been all that Paulo could talk about for days.  He had decided to plot it out, to see if he could find earth men hiding on its face, or even capture a picture of it so clear that it would rival that of the ones in their tattered textbook.  That had been three weeks ago.  He had since plunged himself head first into learning about camera equipment, studying the patterns of the night sky and plotting which spot would be the best to capture the moon as it phased overhead.  Paulo had been coming out to this hillside every night for weeks, telling his parents that it for class research, which it had begun as originally.  Now it was just an obsession.  Tonight was the first night that he had asked Lola to join him.

She wasn't sure what had made him invite her out.  As of three weeks, when the moon madness (as she thought of it) had started ago they had never said two words to each other.  She sat at the far back of the room, keeping to the sides where she could doodle in her notebook and daydream while keeping an eye on the class proceedings.  Paulo sat near the front, had his hand up in the air more often than it was on the desk.  He seemed to know everything, especially about the moon.  But the day before, he had approached her, as they were picking up their books for the next class.  "Lola," she heard her name called out softly.  She turned around, dropping her bag on the floor in surprise at the suddenness of acknowledgment.  Paulo was right behind her, his dark intelligent eyes bearing impenetrably into her soul.  "Saturday night's the full moon. I'm taking a photographs of it," he said, like he was reciting a fortune bought from an oracle.  "You should come. I'll be at the Jones hill after night fall."

That had been two days ago.  Now, Lola sat crouched on the ground, staring up at the dark figure on the hill that loomed large above her.  She didn't remember Paulo being so tall and dark.  He was saying something to her, whisperings carried down to her ears on the chill October breeze.  She shivered involuntarily.  She felt cold, and then sleepy.  Without a thought to it, she curled into a ball, the moon looming behind her, taking up half the sky and illuminating the hill in a bright, uncanny light.  Her mind oscillating out between tiredness and urgency to run up and warn Paulo (of what?), Lola fell into a stupor, and then yawned, closed her eyes and fell asleep.

She awoke to barking.  The labrador that had originally drawn her out of her house was moaning in the woods somewhere near by.  It must have gotten out.  Her bones felt like liquid gold,  her eyes hazed over.  A fog had come up over the hill, it must be near morning. She stood up and wobbled on her feet.  She felt woozy.  Suddenly, she was aware of not being alone anymore.  She looked up the hill towards where Paulo had been when she first approached.  The hilltop where he had stood a few moments ago was empty now.  She exhaled and a slight low, graveled sigh escaped her lips.  Where was Paulo?

The moon had slipped behind some clouds, casting a pale glow over the hilltop.  Her bare feet slipped up and across the grass, as she ran up towards the hill, away from the lab's increasing frenzied barks.  She tried to whisper Paulo's name, but her voice came out grizzled.  She had drooled in her sleep all over her face, and she reached up to wipe her mouth clear it.  She stopped short.

Paulo hadn't left the hill.  His camera equipment was still there, laying on its side in the ankle deep grass.  The wind had scattered his negatives all over the eastern side of the hill.  Then she spotted him, curled in a ball, asleep.  She approached cautiously.  There was a rusty smell coming from him, and he seemed to be breathing quite shallowly.  As she reached out for him, he suddenly awoke, took one look at her face, and started screaming.

The labrador's howls burst into frenzied barking.

---

Lola awoke to bright sunshine streaming in through the window of her bedroom, lighting up her red walls in a pinkish morning glow.  Her clothes from yesterday were still on, sticking to her body.  She sighed, hopped tossed her clothes into the hamper and got into the shower to prepare for Sunday school that morning.  She skipped breakfast -- she didn't feel as if she'd be hungry ever again.

Paulo's body was found on the hillside, mauled as if by a pack of rabid wolves.  He shouldn't have been out so late by himself in such a remote part of the park, it was decided.  Her neighbors never found their labrador, who ran off the same night.  Roving band of wolves, it was determined.  They didn't come down much from the mountains, but strange things happen on full moons.

---

A few months later, Lola found a photo in the back pocket of her jeans.  It was made on instant photographic paper, the sort that just a bit of exposure will render into a picture within a few minutes.  She didn't know where it had come from -- it looked like a real life sketch of an internet meme: a wolf on its haunches howling before a full moon.




Oct 7, 2013

Hiking: a comparison

Hiking through the upper bounds of New Jersey cum lower New York state, other wise known as the Ramapo Mountains.  Wilderness of the North East.

It's nothing like hiking in Texas, the hot sweltering summer heat where the biggest threat to sanity is your skin -- burnt by an endless sun, scratched by thickets, sharp grasses and unforgiving thorns, bitten and feasted upon by hordes of insects, spiders, gnats, and mosquitoes, sweat stains on clothing that fester into chafed patches behind your knees and at your armpits or hives that come on in a reckless rage at the mere brush of a patch of hayfever grass.

It's nothing like hiking through the Amazon, with its endless vista of green, oppressive heat and thick, humid air that fills your lungs with life and loathing.  Green, verdant, teeming with life that's as soon to eat you as you to eat it.  The rainforest breathes with life as it exhales with death.  Wild and free and dangerous as the piranhas you're fishing up for dinner and the water you're boiling within an inch of its life hoping that it's enough to kill the verdant microorganisms that teem within it.  It's a hazmat territory, with boots and long pants and loose, flowing long sleeves that cover every last inch of self.

No, the Ramapo forest was a dream of moss encrusted rocks, and dry crisp air and leaves falling, a halo of golden rain.  The mists that cover the ground in the morning, the earthy sigh of the woods and silent crunch of leaves beneath your feet, a rusty carpet covering strewn stones and sparsely spaced trees that cover your heads in a canopy of autumnal riches -- gold, green, amber, honey.  No mosquitoes, no sign of life other than a laconic, serpent lazily out for no more than an evening stroll.  A lake of large mouth bass, no deeper than 12 feet at depth.

The wilderness of the Eastern shore tamed more than the the wilderness out South/West.

Oct 5, 2013

Sensemaking

Tired and fever brained (fever brained, brainded, brain dead, branded), starting to feel the effects of cabin fever (oh hello, Manhattan apartment at home for three days with a sick roommate).  Rational state of mind is exactly the phrase one could use to describe my personhood at the moment.  (Person's hood, in the hood, of the hood, a 'hoodie').

Thought: this type of writing will never earn me any money.  Stop.

It's quiet in our shoebox.  You can hear the neighbors opening cupboards, playing pranks on each other, or holding jam sessions.  Last night at midnight there was a 'police raid' on the apartment next door, to the East. (Men's combat boots, worn out. Vintage.  Laces freshly pressed.) Tonight, there's a live music jam box going on in the apartment to our north.  (Pair of women's heels, platform. Black pleather. Strappy.)  And suddenly it hits me that New York City is a live hopping city.  This is why no one has a TV but why people write novels here and why people come here to be in bands or make music, or spend a life exploring the arts scenes or to talk or to get lost in the subways or to come down off of luck and plunder the depths of compassion on the A line from Fulton to Jay Street.  Because there's a passion in the air and the opportunities are boundless and the only one singing sad songs and stories of could haves and would haves are saps and soul suckers and they don't last long here.

Where do you fit in brown pair of mary jane loafers with turqouise tassels and exquisite, hand cut pleating on the sides.  All leather.  Soft, but good for walking along riverbanks, alone.


------

There's a mouse in our apartment.  His name is Fred Wilson, like the VC.  His name was to just be Fred but my brain kept going and it just stuck. F red wils on.  He's cheeky, comes out to play at strange times, no wariness in his step, but definitely a cautious creature.  He has yet to broach the perimeter that seems to exist in a 10 foot radius from my personage (person of age, pears aged, an aged 'hood).

Nervous because living is performing is to be asking for judgement.  Someday I may tell someone about Fred.  In the meantime, we're working on our interpersonal communication skills, especially the non-verbal category.  It's not what you say.  It's how you say it.

EEEEEEEEEEEE. MOUSE!

Oct 4, 2013

Corpus Writ.

The fall of man is felt in the heart long before the cold winds come.

How much of a man must you read before you know that he is a gifted, a talented, writer?  Is it the one sentence that he speaks out of turn, or the fifty fifth chapter of his magnum opus, 3,000 pages in.  It's not prolifigy, though that speaks to the heart and soul and causes you to know, deep in your soul that you stand before, in front of, behind one who knows expression.

When does talent really begin to show itself?  Will you recite back to me the time when she was six and she read every street sign aloud, but to herself, a chanting of locations passing that taught her both a sense of direction and love for the written word.  Or perhaps the time in fourth grade that he go caught red handed with a stack of borrowed library books on the play ground and instead of standing up for himself, he wrote the librarian a treatise on the imperative of free literature.  She learned how to count at 14.  He got his mother's sister's cousin's nose and died early of Parkinson's.

Words, they say, last forever.

Gone away to, Ohio

She awoke in a room, white and glowing walls that stretched up in all directions, as far as she could see.  A brilliant dim glow of the early morning sunshine, a place no shadows could live, phantasmically aseptic.  Eyes crusted over, she couldn't see much farther than the end of her nose.  It was hard to tell where all the brilliant bright light was coming from.  She rolled over, face planting her self into darkness once again.

Where the hell was she?  The last she remembered had been at the bar with Ben and Jake and Catherine.  Out for a few beers.  There had been dancing and laughter and talk of taking a trip to the Hamptons next weekend.  She was training for a bike ride in November.  There was an awkward hesitation in the entire party when Jake realized it was the same week as his birthday, but that was cleared up when she promised to show, at least for a while.

She licked her lips.  Dry, like salted caramels, it left her mouth thrusty for more.  No sense of urgency, though.  But where the hell was she?

You're supposed to be dead, he said.  It was then that she realized that her feet were missing.  As were her hands.  And the sunlight that had been pouring in was really a spotlight.  The ghoul reached out his hand and said "and now, you're one of us, love".  She was in a water tower, the one at the top of her apartment building.  There was no one there, but her.  She had drank too much the night before, blacked out (as one will, when there's little to eat the day before), and made a pact with the devil.  She was here, stuck in the bottom of a dry, ghoulish tank, white, curving walls of smoothed paint stretching up a sheer twenty feet.  The sun turned on its axis.

I'm not a vampire, she thought, neither miserable nor elated, just hung over.

She died of thirst three hours later.  Jake, although he attended the funeral, never quite forgave her for scheduling a bike ride the same day as his birthday.

Sep 18, 2013

Pensamentos

You change the future, but you cannot change the present.  The trick is finding the intersection between the two.

Aug 22, 2013

SpamDats

Pip install the numpy guns, she yelled down from the barricade as yet another volley of site-o-plasma came raining over the firewall.  Ducked down beside the emulator, Miles cursed at the terminal. !!.

> Permission to curse denied.
> sudo !!
> #########...................................................................................

It's nine am on a Thursday morning and all throughout the blogosphere pirate attacks are in full swing.  The WorldPress team, just Miles and Jen at this point, has gotten themselves trapped up in a corner of the Chromeworld.  Their assignment was to rejoin with the rest of the larger WorldPress who was waiting for them just pass the Safari compass.  They had taken a detour through some Ukranian proxy and had to take an unexpected trip to the Caribbean to avoid a few channel TOR narcs, so they were running about 8 hours behind schedule.  They had received no new updates from the larger site, just a few dropped ACKs in the TCP channel that Miles was a bit worried about.  It didn't help that the the WorldPress team's public site had been throwing back 500's since 10pm the night before.

Miles was brew installing the root kit that he had grabbed freshly updated from the Cellar during a brief interlude the night before, when the port in the firewall nearest him started flashing a dull magenta.  "Incoming", Miles yelled, abandoning the terminal screen to dive behind a stack of discarded vim buffers.  The port opened with a hiss with a burst of spam data.  It was a fill-out attack, meant to plaster in any holes, including the one where Miles and Jen were occupying.  Rising faster than a tsunami on the Japanese coast, and as sticky as that fly-paper Miles' Southern Baptist Oklahoman grandmother had insisted on hanging from every beam in her ranch house, the spamdat quickly covered the terminal and began rising up towards the buffers where Miles had fled.

The spamdat was noxious, oily black colored.  The tingle of vodka that wafted up from it hinted at a Baltic or Moscovian origin, but from the way the tide pools flowed RTL, he figured it may come from the deeper Tajikistan.  Curses.  This stuff had byten more dev troops in the past month than Miles had been able to keep count of.  And no one was sure where it was coming from.  Jen bet that the tracerts would point back to an infiltration of the CDNs, but you just didn't corrupt CDNs like that.  To get root on a CDN, it'd have to be an inside job.

But who?  Miles didn't really have time to contemplate at the moment.  Ever since the EFF.com had gotten taken down by a rouge Anonymous cell from Somalia, proving solidly that the DNS system could be compromised (and in fact had been), the entire state of the Internet had been royally fracked.  Authentication and veracity had quickly become fracked.  Everyone had their own certs, but there was speculation that someone had discovered a prime-hack for those as well.  It was just hard to know who to trust these days.

The spamdat was almost over the vim buffers.  Miles could feel it eating away towards his kernel.  This might be the end of this run.  He tried hand-signalling Jen with a pm on the IRC, then a broader hail mary to anyone that may be listening in #world-press.  No response.  Time to pull out.

The world went dark as Miles unplugged from the simulator, lolling back into his captain's chair and silently cursing at the walls of the cardboard box where he hung out on weekends.

He was only ten, and his Mom didn't like him spending time on the nets, understandable since it was mostly to blame for the stock market crash, the housing collapse, the rise of the Nigerian prince cabal.  They now made their living renting out the living room on Airbdrm, when the Paypal networks seemed to be functioning, and giving it over to a licey Couchcrashers when it wasn't.  For a while, she had attempted to make a living as a SalesForce jedi, one of the legions of pseudo hacks who walked around in tight jeans, black shirts, blazers and a plethora of conference badges that hung in bunches from their necks like anti-virus talismens.  If this was 17th century days they'd be crosses.  The Jedi gig didn't last long -- their real immunity had been rooted in supreme inability, but they were a timebomb nonetheless.  Eventually, some budding Chinese hacker had decided to cut her teeth on the Jedi-Fileshare and that was the end his mom's foray into the hackulture.

She now worked for USPS.

Aug 15, 2013

to be continued.

We talked again last night for the first time in a while and
it felt like we had never stopped.
It wasn't even about a thing it was about
life and it felt just like breathing.
I woke up refreshed
for the first time in months.

I realized it was
just a familiar dream and that
it wasn't the first such conversation
we'd ever had.
Just the first one I remembered.

Turns out I, we didn't really stop talking.
The conversation's been there all along.

Jul 24, 2013

Quem é

quem é você?
não sei, respondi. só alguém que te amou há uns poucos anos.
me toquei no braço, lentamente
e agora?
é fato que as pessoas não se mudam

Jul 17, 2013

Two Ceramic Bowls Stuck Together?

Fill the cavity between them with water.  Place in freezer.  Rescue a few hours later, once the water between them as frozen.  With any luck, they'll have been popped apart by the ice as it grew.

Pop out the ice bowl that you've now created, put some fruit in it as a fun centerpiece and watch as it melts into oblivion.

Physics is magic.


Jul 4, 2013

Ode to Black Sesame

Dear tiny black seeds of deliciousness.  With your crunchy exteriors and deep nutty flavor that crackles between my teeth.  Fallen onto my t-shirt, you appear as lost children from some black sanded desert.  And I, a giant white strawberry, seeded on the outside.  I sit and I wonder, what kind of tahini would you make, marvelous dark and pasty.  I want to grind you up and then watch you dissolve, each and every last one, into a dark glorious paste of spreadable wonder.  Black, creamy taste of the far exotic spicy east.

Here is my imaginary black tahini recipe:  (the amounts given are pure fiction)


1 c. roasted black sesame seeds
1/2 c. oil, take your pick on variety.  probably not olive.

Roast the sesame seeds in the oven.  I did mine a bit hot, starting at 450 for a few minutes, and then quickly recanting on the whole idea of fire and damnation and settling them down to about 300 after 2 to 3 minutes.  They were probably in the oven for about 10 minutes total.  It's hard to tell since they're black to begin with, but I pulled them out they were starting to crackle up and a few had discolored to an ashen grey.  Try not to worry about them burning.

After the seeds are roasted, toss them into a food processor with a the oil, mix it up a bit to make sure the oil coats all of the seeds, and the process the hell out of them.  They should make a delicious heavy black paste.

Jun 29, 2013

Inertia

is getting through not just today, or just tomorrow, but the rest of eternity.

Jun 28, 2013

that is all.

she exhales when she says your name.  that is all.

bubble boy

The bubble burst.  The boy stepped out of its plastic hull, deflated, and looked around at the miles of empty land where he had come to rest.  Earth.  It seemed so limitless in every direction, stretching out the same in all directions.  Hard to know which direction to set out in, from where he was standing.  Hard to tell what adventures were waiting behind different corners of the unknown universe, with it just all out flat there.  Like it was waiting for some big men with plows to churn it up and give it direction in the form of a two lane high way, connecting two distant dots, unseeable, on the plane, an infinite set of points linked together, birthed of the nothingness that was just a piece of land at the moment.

But there was no road.

From here.  Where to?

Jun 27, 2013

doença

ce sabe o que voce tem, neh?

é a saudades de uma vida que não existe.  que nunca existiu.  um collage françesa de imagens, que voce já viu em alguns filmes japonês, fotos de Bali e as islas do caribê em uma revista de viagem.

sonhar é doença pura, meu.

Jun 26, 2013

Jun 24, 2013

nem

nem é que perdi tudo.
é que quero perder.
quero perdição.

ele olhou pra mim. falou: existe no mundo mais que um como você.

Jun 4, 2013

Two ways

To her daughter, sprawled on the floor with a stack of Google maps and sharpie, what are you doing dear?
Looking for two way streets.
What for?
To know the best way to hell and back.

May 7, 2013

Arturo

His name, Arturo at the outset, stretched on for several more syllables and across the map of Asiatic, Catholic European - chaotic and decidedly Latino.
Round faced, a cherubic smile and smart, dark intelligent eyes. Easily mistaken for a filled out Japanese, as my friend Trea discovered.  He had an easy smile and round, full lips that teased my own thin ones as they glided back into a grin.
We said goodbye near the Consolation end of Paulista, catatonic both. It was the last bus ride I would take back from the centro, winding quickly back to Butantã in the early morning.
I awoke to the fare collectors tap. End of the line, he said. I stared blankly out the window at unfamiliar streets.  It was the last time I'd be lost in Brazil.
We exchanged messages a few times, via some social networking chat connection. Enough to say some unforgivable thing about his corner of SP metroplex. The conversation fizzled, but persisting into a hollow buzz of awkward static misconnection.

May 3, 2013

Observação

[obs: Smiles and happiness are not necessarily correlated]

IRL

Standing staring at a painting sometimes, I'll be overcome with a bit of frustration.  Eyes scanning the painting laconically, but with a frenzied energy.  I'm looking, waiting, almost, for some bit of sense or meaning or greater story to appear from the swirls of paint splotches or color blocks or mazes of lines on paper.  I want there to be a greater meaning to the work, to see it with my own eyes, to have it pop out livid from the canvas/paper/slate rock/polyester.

The last time I was at the MOMA, I caught myself doing this.  Skimming above the paintings and sculptures, looking for ones that had an easy story to tell or some political message that could be divulged from just staring at the thing, or reading the title.  These are easy to find at momas.  But what of the ones that frustrated me?

For some paintings, there's more to it than political message, simple statements.  Rather not more to it, but less.  Things can be exactly what they are, without appealing to some higher need of purpose or message.  Sometimes swirls of color are nothing more than that.  They necessitate no response, there is no call to action, there is no greater purpose than just to be a splotch of color on canvas.

As of late, relationships frustrate in the same way that abstract paintings do.

Apr 30, 2013

Papaya ice cream

This tastes like dreamsicle.

Ingredients
1/2 papaya, fresh
2 heaping tablespoons palm coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1 medium sized banana

Chop all fruit. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend. Churn in ice cream maker until frozen slush, about 30 minutes on my machine. Move to freezer and freeze until solid.

Enjoy!

Apr 11, 2013

Necessities

What is it that you need, he asked?
Infinite time, I said, without hesitation.
He looked at me. Smiled, and replied, it's yours. Is that all?
No. I replied, with a sad smile. Infinite love.
He laughed this time, winked and said, that you already have. Is that all?
No, I replied. 
What is it then, he asked, what do you need?
I did not reply. The silence rifted, swelled and then gulfed into an infernal, infinite chasm.


Apr 9, 2013

TO SP FROM DUMBO WITH LOVE

The sun is a bright tepid springtime color, the same angle that it hits São Paulo in the late fall.  Same time of year, due to earth curvature and the properties of spheres (wrt a singular source of light).  The smell of food cart baked good oil and the bright splash of fresh wind on my face and suddenly I'm no longer in DUMBO, Brooklyn, New York, New York, but back on the windy, hilly streets of Butantã, São Paulo, São Paulo.  Difference being that on this street, English is spoken, but if I stare off into the distance far enough, glaze my eyes over, and dream, for a moment, the voices drop beneath a certain register and there's a sing song pitch I can string together and pretend that it's tonic A's I'm hearing instead of throaty lisped 'th's.  A car honks, exhaust overwhelms the breeze, pulling me back into the present moment, wherever that is, and I'm suddenly no longer sure what side of the bed I woke up on.

Or which side I wish it had been.

Mar 26, 2013

Conversations with children

Tie your shoes, your hair's a mess, where's your backpack child? Did you not see the bus, it's coming around the corner now. Run!

I love you.

More MA

I'm at the MoMA with my friend Cat. We've been talking about what it means to be 'modern' art. Does modern mean 'new' or does it denote a certain period of art?  Honestly, this debate has already been addressed and largely resolved by the houses of criticism (ie literary circles and university circuits).  The name alone of the institution ("the Modern Museum of Art") quite succinctly summarizes the conclusion I'm reaching for.  (ie. It's a period/movement designation.)  But what does it mean exactly to be of the "modern" movement of art?

Walking around I realize that the art in this building is about story telling. The works here reflect back at their audience not much, typically, in the way of an aesthetic ideal.  Rather than delight the sense of wonder vicerally, the artists here use, well honestly, anything as a basis for creating a  perspective on societal values, lifestyles, desires, obsessions.  In some cases succeeding so well at this that their own perspective in turn becomes yet another salient point upon which new perspectives can be formed. An example that comes to mind is the popularity of Warhol's soup cans and pop art.  So catching, his work later becomes itself the focus of other works, embedding itself into the way we view culture and consumerism until it too, is a offered up as a product of consumerism.  (Warhol print grocery bags anyone?).  Perhaps even going so far as to influence how consumerism (this would be the people who make Campbell's soup, and are personally responsible or share some general responsibility for the continued creation and propagation of Campbell's labels and commercials) sees itself.  Though this is admittedly a bit of a reach.

(Strange.  In the middle of typing, imaging the Campbell board of directors surrounding a large table, while a small group of ad men presents the latest and greatest soup can label, I suddenly understand why group dynamics tend to lend themselves to worse product outcomes -- because in a group setting, the main focus, although ostensibly on the work product that the collective is tasked with creating, often times switches to other aspects of group dynamics.  I'm thinking especially of group political influences such as ego and the need for acceptance and approval by your peers.  At the point where the group dynamic is focused around social acceptability and personal influence (perhaps indirectly), then the actual work product suffers.  This is why committee decisions are often inferior to individual decisions -- an individual acting alone has less social pressure, less need to exert energy persuading others or dealing with the egos and opinions of others.  Instead he/she can focus on the creative goal.  Not that groups can't also accomplish this mindset -- there just has to be a strong, focused leader that is able to assert enough of a lack of an ego that the cultural norm for the group becomes refocused around creation and pursuit of good work product.)

But back to MoMA.  I liked the stories that the pieces of art told.  There's a piece on the 4th or 5th floor, in the first open foyer, an antechamber of sorts to the permanent collection, that holds a large steel work.  I can't remember the title, but it's composed of a set of steel crossbeams, with 4 chairs set in various poses on the beams.  Each chair is painted a different color - red, yellow, white and black.  The title of the piece denotes an emotion for each chair - anger, fear, sadness and death.  The positioning and form of each chair plays further upon the symbolic meaning given each one -- the 'angry chair' has no back, and is all feet; there's no where to sit down on it.  The black chair is impaled through the back by one of the steel cross beams; the yellow chair is about to fall.  Without the placard however, it would have been quite hard for me to discern what the intended message of the piece was. It's like a riddle or puzzle with a clue to interpretation.  The MoMA is filled with such pieces that rely on a clue or a hint to give a deeper meaning to the piece.  In fact, some pieces consist only of the title -- there was one work of art, a few words written on the wall, that the artist had merely spoken from one person to another.  This conveyance of idea via spoken word (who knew?) counted, to him, as the work having been created -- the museum then implemented the work per their own discretion.

In contrast, the old masters from the renaissance period's titles are often less than enthralling.  Amy, my roommate,'s favorite piece from the Frick Collection (visited the day after the MoMA) was entitled "Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet Boat, Evening".  It was a gorgeous rendering of a boat on a river in France at sunset.  The sky was a brilliant yellow and the artist had filled the entire canvas with this sunlight.  It was the brightest painting in the entire south wing of the house.  There was no hidden meaning behind it; literally.  It's a a painting of a packet ship arriving at the dock.


So to be modern means to hint suggestively at things that are not.  To create from things symbols that may otherwise not exist; to serve as a critique or a shout out on some facet of how we used to/do art.  It's a redefining of what "art" means, questioning even our understanding of appreciation.

But even though it's been questioned, art still exists .  People still make drawings of ships arriving at harbors (don't they?).

What do you call the pieces that come after modern?

Mar 23, 2013

Play

"There are two things at play here, right, the balance between confidence in your own certainty and the certainty of your own doubt."

Internal monologue of blogger, wrt a potential misspelling.

Feb 14, 2013

Controls

His/her approach to relationships resembled, to a large extent, a primate who's first happened upon a remote control.

The approach is cautious.  The first tentative stab at a button push results in surprise, and a hasty retreat.  Curiosity soon overcomes the cautiousness and initial alarm, and he treads forward with resolve.  At first he's selective with the buttons that he picks, pressing one, waiting for a response, then pushing another.  The reaction is often immediate, but no longer alarming.  Until he hits the one for the radio, the television's blaring, the kettle on the stove is about to burn a hole in the ceiling and burst your eardrums what with the sound of escaping steam.

He's out of control.  Nothing will turn off right, buttons that used to mute the tv now ups the furnace to 100 degrees.  In frustration, he mashes the buttons, bangs the remote against the floor, and then hurls it against the wall.

Explosion.

sound reflecions: observations from SF MOMA's Soundtracks exhibit

karthik and i went to the SF MOMA today to check out the last few bits of the soundtracks exhibit. we saw this great video work that i can&...