Sunday, December 29, 2002


(originally posted at

Opening of SMART Letter #80 - Trans-Pacific tour, part one:
"I'm distressed that huge multinational corporations have given globalization a bad name.  Notwithstanding, people who oppose tyrannosauric actions of big companies ought to stop calling themselves "anti-globalization."  Globalization itself is a fact.  There are more ways to be globalized than there are to be American; some of them are wise, human and life-affirming, while others are toxic, taxic, imperialistic and exploitive.  Most of the time it is easy to tell which is which.  We share a small, beautiful planet "Anti-globalization" sounds so head-in-the-sand.  C'mon people.  You're not against cheap, easy, international air travel or instantaneous international communications are you?  If you're SMART you're not against treating our planet as a single complex system.  I hope you're not anti-roundness or anti-blue or anti-anybody-but-your-own-tribe.  Let's find a better descriptor!"
That's by a fellow by the name of David Isenberg.  I've read a bit of his stuff lately via cross-posts on the transhumantech list.  I see further down in SMART Letter #80 that there's a section on Japan, so I'll be interested in reading that.

Suffice it to say, I'm definitely pro-globalization - just not in its current form.  As dkp reminded me yesterday - "nothing gets done right the first time."  I guess it's just a matter of surviving the first time.

The following two lines satisfy re-distribution criteria on the quote from David Isenberg:

Copyright 2002 by David S. Isenberg -- -- 1-888-isen-com

The Family Music Collection

(originally posted at

my father, aiming to clean out the former music room in our house for his new office, has seen fit to hand down his old music collection to me.  this is very exciting.  i've never really had much experience with vinyl and practically none with reel-to-reel tape, but now i'll have a chance.

i plan to bring the stuff back to nyc, buy a decent turntable, and digitize the rare stuff in my spare time.  i'll also be bringing the reel-to-reel recorder with me to fool around with.  i'll be able to record stuff, make loops, experiment like some of the forefathers of electronic music did.

very exciting indeed.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Japan's Dark Valley

(originally posted at

Yesterday i got to reading about Japan's "Showa Era" (1926-1989).  Showa means "Enlightened Harmony."  The Japanese now call it Kurai Tanima, or the Dark Valley.  It's interesting to draw parallels between earlier empires and present-day America.  Here's a sample of the text that I found particularly interesting:
Faced with international opprobium, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in 1933.  Ultranationalism, resentful in its isolation, became more focused.  Efforts were made to purge Japan of foreign concepts and words; regressing to nationalistic Meiji-era emperor worship, education promulgated historical disinformation (mythical emperors and warriors were presented as fact) and the glorification of the Japanese race.
This eventually lead to a deviation into empire-building which was corrected through the Pacific war and the nuclear attacks on Japan.

The interesting part is the reason why they were faced with "international opprobium."  Japan had its mind set on annexing a part of China known as Manchuria.  In 1931, the Japanese army staged a sabotage of a railroad in Guangdong, China - which gave them an excuse to move in and take over.

What instantly sprang to mind was the current American administration.  We've got our minds set on war with Iraq, and now we're just looking for the right way to sell it to the American people.

That's the difference between an Empire and a Representative Democracy.  An Empire only needs to convince the international community that what it's doing is right.  A representative democracy needs to convince its representatives and the people they represent as well.  Truth be damned, sell them the story you want them to hear.

Thinking about it, it's hard not to personify countries.  You see America being sort of punch-drunk and out-of-control, not knowing how to behave under the circumstances.  You can look at Empires the same way.  When they get far enough out of line, the rest of the world corrects the problem.

When it's America's turn, I'd rather be with the rest of the world.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Family Ritual Yields Holiday Loot

(originally posted at

news at 11.

i'm sitting in the kitchen of the only home i've known since birth.  listening to the city of lost children soundtrack.  my fish swim around my desktop and keep me company.

we had a new addition to the family this year - my sister's boyfriend.  i have to admit that it made me rather uncomfortable to have him with us during our unwrapping ritual.  but the discomfort is unwarranted, and i realize that.  just triggered a little cognitive dissonance, that's all.  i can't say "this holiday is religious bullshit and materialism" and then complain about "the way it should be."  and so i concede that christmas is whatever we want it to be.

...on to the loot!
  • The Golden Bough
  • Falling Out of Cars
  • The Libertarian Reader
  • Black Holes & Time Warps
  • Seth Speaks
  • After Capitalism
  • The Mystery of Capital
  • Globalization and its Discontents
  • The Universe in a Nutshell
  • The Annotated Alice
  • Everything You Know is Wrong
...all books from my wishlist.  Running from political theory and economics to philosophical and spiritual, making stops at anthropology, physics and fiction along the way.

I'm most interested in reading Falling Out of Cars, which is Jeff Noon's latest work, which my mother went to the trouble of importing for me.

But now I must go, I'm being summoned to brunch.  Happy holidays, all.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002


(originally posted at

i love when things just work.

today i sat down and wrote out the second part of a reporting script with a  decent amount of intelligence for a work-related project.  and it just worked.  no real debugging or re-writing was required.  felt great.  i'm really getting a good grasp of perl and having fun at the same time.  go fig.

anyway, it just makes my job easier and the reports empower the field team to take responsibility for a certain portion of their job which as been lacking.  feels even better.

i'm about to head out and pick up groceries for a salad i'm making for the family tomorrow.  we've gotten a little snow and the driving was a bit tricky last night... but it looks beautiful out.

i'm sure i'll be posting more over the next few days.

Monday, December 23, 2002

cold weather

(originally posted at

it's quite late and i'm tired, but i felt like posting a quick update.

i've been slowly battling through my email during the day and hanging out with cory at night.  we rented some video games - metroid prime, being the most fun of the bunch, and we've been taking turns battling through it.

new media acquired today.  the serial experiments of lain dvd box set.  i've only seen the first 3 episodes, but i just couldn't resist.  who says piracy hurts sales?

also; i picked up The National Geographic Traveler: Japan... which I've been reading through this evening.  i'm not quite sure yet whether or not i'd be able to function in japanese society.  but it sure is a romantic escapist dream...

time for sleep.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

vacation, errata, japan

(originally posted at

well, for the most part, i'm done with work until after the holidays.  quite a stressful time, but i suppose this time of year always is.  i've been more and more dissatisfied with my work environment and i'm beginning to seriously consider a change.

the only problem is, the market is awful right now.  american foreign and domestic policies are... well, disturbing.  i just feel like less and less at ease with where i am in life and in the world.

my thoughts have taken me back to japan, which was a teenage obsession of mine.  seems more and more feasible.  i've read a bit about it, talked to some americans in japan and native japanese people online, and have searched for jobs in the country.  surprisingly, there were a few posts for exactly the kind of work i'm interested and skilled in.

so what to do?  who knows... bide my time and save some cash.  research japan and perhaps a new industry to migrate to.

in the meantime, laurie's visiting nyc with her husband.  i won't get to meet her which will be twice our paths have unsuccessfully crossed.  it's a shame, really.

jenelle, dave and i had middle eastern food for dinner and i'll be packing for our trip back to rochester shortly.  i've tried to meet interesting people from rochester online with little success... i'll give it some more time.  maybe i'll find a way to have fun on my vacation.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

public service announcement

(originally posted at

you.  yes you.  the lady i saw on the train yesterday.  you're an elderly lady.  maybe you've got some nerve damage, maybe it's another type of problem...

but you had a tic.

i shouldn't have noticed.  i wouldn't have noticed.  i shouldn't have stared.  but i did.

for those of you out there where this may apply, please heed my advice:  i fyou have a nervous tic or some other medical condition that makes your head jerk around in a spastic manner... do not wear dangly earrings.

you're only drawing attention to yourself.  if your dangly earrings are long enough, they may even whip around and catch the person seated next to you in the eye.

be mindful, and good luck overcoming your ailments.

Monday, December 16, 2002

the stupidity tax

(originally posted at

jenelle arrived yesterday.

her train was delayed five hours.  i sat.  and sat.  in penn station.  i read from eliezer's work "levels of organization in general intelligence" and ran down the batteries on my ipod.

the manitoba song "people eating fruit" reminded me of a coincidence i had with nora during her last visit, so i left her a voicemail.

i sat at penn station, in the courtyard of the restaurant just beyond the main junction area.  my table was directly adjacent to the hudson news' lottery machine next door.  i was amazed to see the people who came up to the lottery machine.  the moral struggle that crossed their faces as they tried to decided whether to spend just one more dollar.  they all looked down on their luck.  just a bit behind in the game of life.  some of them looked downright pathetic.  i was reminded of the saying regarding the lottery being a tax on stupidity.

anyway, last night jenelle and i went grocery shopping and made salad and fell asleep watching koyaanisqatsi together.  it was wonderful waking up in her arms again.  she felt comfortable being close to a friend whom she could trust not to get too physical.  today we met for lunch and i bought a virgin wool hat and scarf set.  the scarf is 90" long and fantastically soft.  the colors are a bit off for me, but i needed something new and we stumbled on them walking around the christmas shops in bowling green.

tonight we made dinner (i even helped a little) - cajun chicken, cous cous with toasted pine nuts, and a salad.  it was fabulous.  i felt bad that dave and alex couldn't join us, but jenelle was most understanding.  after that we cuddled up and watched royal tenenbaums.

tina thinks i'm obsessed with the movie.  she knows me better than i let on.  she started work at a daycare today.  she's been avoiding my questions about it, but i do hope she enjoys the work.

regarding royal tenenbaums, i do need to expound on why the movie touches me so much.  i'll save that for a later date.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

quick redesign

(originally posted at

just a quickie.  pulled a div here and there.  added some spacing, did a little indenting... just minor stuff that had annoyed me with this layout.

Thanks a lot, see you later

(originally posted at

i slept a good 14 hours and feel totally refreshed.  i woke up to an empty house, but soon alex and dave were back with a breakfast croissant for me - which i had with a strawberry yogurt smoothie.

talked to tina for a bit.  josh and angela, too.  watched dave trying to catch a mouse.

quite an eventful morning.

and soonish i need to start getting ready for jenelle's visit.  she gets here tomorrow.  i'm more than excited.

the title of this entry is what mary said after the encore performance of come and play in the milky night, when they played it in sweden on september 18th, 2001.  i've got a bootleg, if you're interested.  perhaps my favorite bootleg.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Digital Snowstorm

(originally posted at

I couldn't really focus at work today.  I've had a headache since I woke up.  But I found new OSX drivers for my old USB webcam... which I had to pay for!  They were cheap, but I've never paid for drivers before.

Anyway, I took some pictures and fooled around in my *ahem* legal copy of photoshop.  And the above is the result.  After grayscaling it, I just played with the curves, contrasts, and levels until I was happy with the result.  The picture was taken in my office, sitting at my desk.


(originally posted at

the Independent has an obituary for mary.

also; her family asks that donations be made to CanTeen - a charity for the younger sufferers of cancer.

the more i listen, the more i wonder what the future of stereolab will sound like without her.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


(originally posted at

On the 9th of December, 2002, Mary Hansen died.

It was a cycling accident, in London.

For those of you who don't know, Mary was a vocalist/guitarist with Stereolab.  She masterfully provided the offset harmonies that supported the melodies sung by lead singer Laetitia Sadier.

This is very sad indeed.  The whole magic of Stereolab was in the subtle complexity of interwoven harmonies and melodies.  The music was written in a style that considered the human voice to be just another instrument.  This allowed for a much more vibrant group dynamic.

I saw Mary and the group a handful of times, and it won't be the same without her.  There's no word yet from the group on whether they plan to continue.

I talked with koly today - he runs ultra-high frequency, the unofficial stereolab site - and we were discussing ways for the Peng! list members to pay their respects.  I've suggested we sponsor a community garden in Mary's home town in Australia.  If anyone has any other ideas, please get in touch.

A sad, sad day.

Thursday, December 05, 2002


(originally posted at

i totally forgot the thing that prompted me to post a journal entry in the first place! it's the quote of the week from the Harrow Technology Report (Dec. 2, 2002)...
Storage space and computing power are dirt cheap; our task isn't to "use them efficiently", it's to "squander them creatively."
That's from David Gelernter, Professor, Computer Science at Yale. He's also the Chief Scientist of Mirror Worlds Technologies.

Good stuff. Where's the nano? Where's the VR? I want to squander my creativitiy. :)

let it snow

(originally posted at

eh. it snowed all day.

i'm still alive, though - haven't had much time for journal entries. the month of november literally flew by. i spent a whole shitload of time on this project for work, and it's finally getting somewhoere. of course, i've had to bribe dave to help me out. it's the project he was working on while he was still working there. but he saved me a lot of time.

i'm still reading blackmore's "the meme machine" - which has taken a strange turn... talking about religious memes, memes of supernatural stuff... she tries to make it respectable, she really tries... but it makes her book harder to take seriously.

when i'm done with it, i won't be reading any more books until i've read all of eliezer yudkowsky's works (which are all online, if you look for them). he's an AI researcher whose style i happen to like. he's written a whole lot of material that i haven't gotten to reading yet, but i've read his stuff on the extropian and sl4 lists and i'm curious about his more formal pieces.

angela's let me borrow some godspeed you black emperor! cd's. and i love their stuff. i had a lo-fi peel session mp3 by them, but i didn't like it as much as their album work. i let her borrow some of my mogwai. godspeed reminds me of mogwai mixed with sigur ros. great stuff.

and... i got an iPod. and... i love it.

and... tomorrow i'm meeting nora after her portfolio review. the other night we talked for hours and hours and it just felt good.

felt good to hear about jeff noon's new books and projects, too. more writing, a vurt film and a piece from cobralingus being done by brian eno. awesome.

and... that's my snowy day update.