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Day 58

23:30 / 12 June 2019
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Day 50

—the summer air is displacing, chilly but still welcoming. (mid-day rain, nonetheless, fleeting); i met Kip Lott, whose photos of the area actually capture the stunning beauty.

i continue to accrue reasons to loathe tech companies; I’ve used VSCO for years, and during a background update the app completely changed its way of interacting with photos: instead of keeping a local copy in the app, it only stores modifications. Labeled as “Saving you space,” what it means is that my entire methodology of keeping photos I want to save on the app, while deleting them from my phone’s Photos folder, is now pointless and useless. On top of that, when I cleared them out the other day to make space for more photos, I lost all my shots from the Dzogchen Beara center permanently.

the worst part about designers is when they are certain their decisions are the ones that are best for people, even if it upends years of routine overnight, without warning. it gives me an excuse to go back and take more pictures, but it’s such a defeating feeling. I have to now re-create a routine of how to use my fucking cameraphone because of some stupid decision made by overpaid “problem-solvers” in san francisco.

08:00 / 5 June 2019
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repeater

(a machine wheezes in patterns, a repetition of bursts in high-frequency, inaudible to some, yet i hear it like a wail or a cry. morse code, some code. giving another sense of life to the obviously lifeless. we all care far too much for devices.)

a Person will always care for themselves before another, and madness will always take precedence against the despair their neighbor. a cup of coffee vibrates to a breeze on-screen, projecting an image of a place i’ve never been but a scene i’ve seen a million times already.

a flame dances slowly through its floor of wax. everything is in place to pass the time by without ceremony or a sense of desire. my American nature wants to call it waste—

the air in Ireland is fresh, clean; unsullied by the damning individualism and selfish desires so present across the United States. we talk of humanist values, pacifism, cooking, and the British. the conversation occasionally turns to these Empires; the resigned laughter of a room unable to change such a stain on the world is the true sound of our time.

A question from across the room, a language I don’t understand, but it’s nothing of consequence, this much I know

12:00 / 30 May 2019
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Private Capital to
Captain Bullshit

Jeff Bezos wants to go to the moon. Let’s fucking send him there and leave him.

Billions of dollars pour into rebuilding Notre Dame—even though the Vatican has probably spent more than that on covering up church scandals. Elon Musk and Bezos and Branson working to put the rich in orbit while the poor are suffering, starving, increasing in numbers.

I just can’t read the news anymore. These are not the men who will build a Great Future for Humankind. They’re building Planet Starbucks. They’re the ones that lead to The First Order, not the United Federation of Planets. Our future is so tragic because our present is so obvious.

10:00 / 10 May 2019
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a television version of a person with a broken heart

When I was maybe 10 or 11, my mother and I agreed one summer that for every day I spent without watching television she’d pay me $1. The only caveat was it had to be subsequent: I couldn’t go three days on, four days off, then back on. I ended up with 90 days.

To this day, it’s the longest I’ve been able to last without any screen interaction. I’ve always been a sucker for television—I deeply identify with David Foster Wallace’s take on the preeminent force of American culture1—and to me it’s become quite maddening. As an alcoholic I can tell you the difference between feelings of a long day at a bar and a few hours watching Netflix are nil. Most nights I do not want to watch TV, but I do anyway. I spend more time trying to decide what to watch—as most of the time the feature is relegated to the background of something else I’ve actual desire to do—than I do watching said material. It is, straight up, an addiction.

Though ‘revolutionary,’ the confluence of consumption and creation that is the internet is, at absolute best, distracting to the pure process of trying to make something. Even in this moment, writing on this blog, in a WordPress text window, I can opt out to read my previously-linked article or listen to Wallace talking about water or watch Jason Segel portray him. The very medium interferes with the flow of inspiration like a horde of zombies on a highway slowing down an escape route in some B-movie.

(I am struggling with dealing with myself, as even living a ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ life has still been filled with a certain type of despair that feels… unfamiliar. Sadness and misanthropy are nothing new to me, but since the dawn of streaming media, a constant ability to escape by way of repetitive, un-engaging fiction,2 there is a weight in my soul that just knows this blue glow is Hell Itself; that the internet is the Golden Calf of the mind.)

If there is a great existential crisis of our time, it is how our human nature for social interaction—and the growth and formations of civilization that has come with it throughout history—has been consumed by the medium providing media we consume. It is that we, as people, are not designed for a wholly intangible environment, for we are physical and spatial beings. Yet the fix this space provides 99% of us—an escape from the oppressive and psychologically violent act of merely waking each morning—is nearly impossible to overcome in the face of not only the social pressures to imbibe but the internal battle of Well what the fuck else am I supposed to do in a world that just doesn’t care?

That summer that I spent without television, playing baseball in the park and riding bikes all day? I took my $90 and bought a Sega Game Gear.3 Thinking about that now, I just … feel so defeated. I should have seen this coming.

      Notes
  • for all the faults Aaron Sorkin’s short-lived The Newsroom had, his meta-commentary on television as the most influential and important medium in American history is on point, as well.
  • Marshall McLuhan’s difficult but mostly accurate—if, perhaps poorly-labeled—take on ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ media is essential for truly understanding the different relationships between human behavior and art/entertainment. A medium like a novel allows the brain to follow along and imagine the visuals; words are a form of language that inspire the mind and assist it in growing by providing the trampoline for imagination. Television and film are contrary in that they consume the mind and create definitive parameters of interaction, so that the brain can ‘turn off.’ Comic books exist somewhere in-between, but for the most part media can be on one of two sides of the line in the mind between stimulation and subjugation. (I say mostly accurate because I would situate television with film as a ‘spoon-feeding’ medium.)
  • To my mind video games are the modern comic book, in that they constrain the mind and allow for an escape but do provide a narrative that allows for (a bit of) imagination… walking the line between that notion of inspiration and intellectual containment. I’m not a gamer—nor have I really ever been outside of a few years of obsessive Counter-Strike play in my early 20s—but it seems equally addictive.

12:00 / 4 May 2019
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Day Nine

(it was a beautiful day, sun shining and an excuse to eat outside, feet on the table, face to the sky, feeling the warmth. productive in work. shot two rolls of film while exploring Palma’s downtown tourist section when, just like that, for no apparent reason, VSCO—the app i use for cameraphone-based photography—won’t start. in the two weeks since leaving Portland i have not yet taken my photos to my computer—my ritual is to do that upon leaving each city—and they were presumed lost. this is the sort of defeat that simply ruins me.

after some time and hassle with iTunes and my phone, I successfully managed to restore a backup, losing only a few photos from the day in Palma. it’s better than nothing.

Palma, recovered

what disturbs me though—and this is an increasing trend started by Instagram’s lack of support, back-up options or account revival—is that apps, perhaps because they are ‘free,’ do not offer much in active support. VSCO has no contact e-mail on their website and surely their response would be Restore your iPhone, and if that doesn’t work, re-install the app; the latter of which i lose all of my photos permanently with

as I do not use any cloud-based services other than ones I administrate myself, the company has an angle to blame the customer in this regard: “You should be using the cloud.” none of these tech services companies give a damn about the people they’re making products for upon failure, just that those who would use them need to be in the same mindset in terms of how to use them.

an entire day, possibly the best in Mallorca since I arrived, sidelined in my head because of some bullshit technological failure that is without explanation or any resolve. I know my way around these things and managed to mostly fix them, but now my general loathing of San Francisco and it’s entire mentality has returned to prominence. this is not the foundation for the future, but a look at the opulence before the present ends.

01:00 / 25 April 2019
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Real Dumb

an ad for the Google Cloud shows hip young technocrats working in a very manual-technology environment: typewriters, analog switches, tape on a reel. It’s a slick commercial and probably headed by a well-respected ad agency.

it strikes me that Google has a strange relationship with this old technology: it is needed to represent the diversity of what the cloud can do. The utility of real machines is now as avatars to represent their virtual function in advertising campaigns.

15:15 / 30 March 2019
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Kiss The Tank

i’m fascinated by livestreaming, and other modern technologies, and while i play with their potential from time to time, there’s a certain line in the sand of using these corporations as a means of expression; they control all the opportunity of certain types of digital publishing. using Facebook comes with the wink and nod, accepting it’s some kind of Necessary Evil.

commerce vs art; the fine line of Corporate Acceptability is subjective. painters use Brand Name pigments, same with the musician and their instrument. to create is to inherently use ‘the system’ and so the intentions of the artist get as much, if not more, attention as the work.

this seems different, though. this isn’t the debut of the personal camera; when you bought a roll of film, Kodak didn’t ask for your personal information and shopping history. the amount to which these companies are using humans as a resource will only be measured in the future when there are metrics for such things.

16:30 / 9 March 2019
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Tragic Spectacle

I find myself reading and re-reading texts that foresaw the age of the internet but were still published in the pre-digital era—McLuhan, Debord, Baudrillard—and can’t help but wonder what they would write in 2019 were any still alive to see how prophetic their texts truly were;

The alienation of the spectator, which reinforces the contemplated objects that result from his own unconscious activity, works like this: The more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.

—Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Each day offers new opportunity to observe how unable America is to comprehend the shift we are experiencing. Yesterday’s Oval Office address was met with liberal demands for fact-checking, as if proving Donald Trump a liar would somehow this time make a difference.

Obscene is an accurate definition for what Americans seem ready to give up in exchange for ‘normalcy’—seemingly unwilling or unable to realize that what we experience now is the new normal. There is no going back in time, there will be no re-setting of the rules of politics come the next election cycle. Late capitalism and its effects on the body politic is an exercise in existential natural selection: adapt or die.

They tell us, “everyone must do their part,” if we want to save our beautiful model of civilization. We have to consume a little less to be able to keep consuming. We have to produce organically to keep producing. We have to control ourselves to go on controlling. This is the logic of a world straining to maintain itself while giving itself an air of historical rupture. This is how they would like to convince us to participate in the great industrial challenges of this century. And in our bewilderment we’re ready to leap into the arms of the very same ones who presided over the devastation, in the hope that they will get us out of it.

—The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection

The warnings that these philosophers voiced before the internet era regarding the overwhelming power of the information economy fell on the deaf ears of a generation that largely—and ignorantly—enjoyed its profits; one to which that very economy has since allowed for any individual to completely disassociate reason from society.1 From here on out we will endure the whims of those who control the tightening noose of capital, and until that issue is reconciled there will be no avoiding its representatives.2

      Notes
  • Not to mention the fuckers are profiting wildly from it all.
  • With the flaunted riches of unearned wealth and a strict belief in nothing but the market, Donald Trump is the ultimate capitalist; Hillary Clinton would be something like second place there, too. Delusion is the belief that these people will go away—or even remotely represent the true needs of people at large.

18:00 / 9 January 2019
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Clear History

(even though this web site has operated with a blog—in some form or another—since 1999, it has undergone semi-annual design changes and annual database dumps throughout the years. thus, the "Archive" is actually only evidence of what has not yet been deleted.)