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Webcam experiment didn't quite work, and it was doing annoying things.
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After seeing Soulhakr's entry, I decided to take the eMode Inner Rock Star Test:

</td>
beckLes, your inner rock star is Beck

Yeah baby, the rock star part of you is all Beck. Women are enthralled by your seductive energy, a perfect mix of intrigue and poetry. You and Beck have got it all together because you're unafraid to say exactly what's on your mind, and let everyone in on your quirky point of view. Intellectual and sexy, you continually dodge conventional stereotypes with your eclectic personal style. But when you really break it down, it's just your great sense of humor and easygoing talent that makes the crowds go wild. Throw a fiesta, and inspire your inner Beck.

And I think I'm okay with this. :)
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From the tail end of last night's Ed obsession, and the end of my lil mopey bit:
Angsty angst, mopey mope,
Stink stunk, fink funk,
Blahedy blahedy blah.
If you keep scowling like that,
it'll freeze that way.
It was just a little silly voice in my head that made me giggle.
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Wish I was black
Wish I was gay
Wish there was a reason
That I felt this way

I'm ahead of my time -- But only by a week
This is my happening -- And it makes me freak
What're all these people doing here? -- I don't know
Why do they all look so weird? -- I don't know
Why can't I love everybody? -- I don't know
Does anyone care
Is anyone there
Just want to meet one

Try to get excited
But I just get scared
Kiss me on the mouth
Kiss me everywhere
You call that a dog? -- No, I don't want some smoke
I've never met the poor -- But all my friends are broke
What're all these people doing here? -- I don't know
Why do they all look so weird? -- I don't know
How much before it explodes? -- I don't know
Is anyone there
I just want to know


-- "I don't know", by Too Much Joy from the album Mutiny
I've never met anyone else who has this album (other than my friend Laura), but this damn silly song sums up how I have been feeling on and off lately. I wish I had a link to an MP3 of it or something, so you could hear it. They're a kinda early 90's alterna-rock band, and I really dug them. I think they're still around, but they're still doing the same kinda music, only more mature.
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I might be a little discontent tonight, but I can never be sad around Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Trivusky the 4th!

She's dreamy!

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It was a strange night, the night that I read The Sandman #75. Not that it was a complete surprise, but when I saw the coffin and the Wake, and I knew for certain that Morpheus (or, at least the manifestation with whom I was familiar) was dead... I started to cry.

And then, there was a power failure in my dorm. The lights went out, my computer died, and people started panicking just a little bit. Me, I cried a bit more. I was in a sort of altered consciousness, and the synchonicity seemed a bit too appropriate.

This comes back to me tonight, because I just read The Dreaming #60, after a many-month absence from my comic reading habits, to find that this was the last issue. The Dreaming was the comic DC Vertigo started to continue the universe of The Sandman, under the care of other writers while Mr. Gaiman moved on to other things. So there's another chapter in the Sandman world closed. Damn it.

I entered into Neil Gaiman's world with reluctance. When I first picked up the Death comics, and then issue #50 of The Sandman (that is, Ramadan), I was in the thick of structuring myself as a fully rational, atheist Objectivist. But Mr. Gaiman helped put an end to all that. He opened up vistas of the unconscious and mythology to me, shattered my self-satisfied rigid notions of my world.

Okay, well, he didn't quite do all that. But let's say that he knocked on my door, I opened it, and he kinda said... "Pardon me, but I believe that there's something out here you should see. Come with me... over here..."

I've spent years chasing down his references, finding his source material in mythology and comparative religions. His notions of Heaven and Hell, God and Lucifer, and the family of Endless, not to mention the host of other manifestations in his pages all drew me into a world of undeniable reality-- nevermind that it all took place in fiction.

Along the way, while exploring the broader context from which he'd drawn, I realized the world could not possibly be as simple or as easily knowable as I'd thought. Before Mr. Gaiman, I really had thought that I had all the answers, or at least, that I was on a path by which all answers could be found. I hate to over-glorify his influence on me, but Gaiman was really the first convincing voice in my ear to tell me that I was living in a world in which it was not possible to have all the answers-- and that it was okay. The other insight that hit me was this: Anyone who does claim to have all the answers has missed something, somewhere, including if that person is yourself or whomever you may have chosen as savior.

Ironically, there is wisdom in doubt.

Is there anyone else out there who knows what I'm talking about? Sometimes, along with that out-of-phase feeling I have, I feel like the only one who has read these comics. And even if I meet someone who has read them, I feel like they actually read a subtly different, less profound, work than I did... Sorry, I hope that didn't sound patronizing or arrogant... but do you know what I mean?
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People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down

When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name


-- "People are Strange" by The Doors
Sometimes I feel like I'm just a visitor here, and I don't really belong. I don't look all that different from the rest of them, and I speak pretty much the same language, but I feel sometimes like I'm just a bit out of phase with this place, this time, this culture.

I never quite learned the ropes. I don't quite know what clothes to wear, or how to wear them. I really never learned the knack of making friends in a town where I have few or none. I'm not very good at playing social dominance games, or "shmoozing". And, in fact, I'm just horrible about maintaining casual friendships and emotional ties. Most times I just simply forget. It's not that I don't care, it's just that it somehow slips my mind. There was a mention on Slashdot quite some time ago about someone's theory that geek brilliance is a mild form of autism. Geeks are cousins to Rain Man-- they are expert in a narrow focus of field, and are especially deficient in social skils.

I'm not sure if I buy the autism thing, but it would explain a few things, I think. I am great with technology, but people seem pretty strange to me most times. I've talked to some people I've managed to befriend, people to whom navigating social networks is as easy as hopscotch, and they tell me that they just have a sense for things.

They pick up cues and things that I just seem to not get. At least, that's the documented phenomena for autists-- they literally don't understand facial expressions or recognize people by those faces. This has been shown by brain energy usage measurements taken via MRI between normal and autist young adults. The scans show normal brains firing in certain areas in response to recognized faces, and certain emotions, where the scans show autist brains no more moved by the appearance of a face or strong emotion than they are moved by the appearance of a potato.

Is it that I don't get them, or that I just never learned them? Or is it that I never learned social skills because I'm missing some perceptions that others have?

Maybe I miss a certain twitch of the eyebrow, or a cock of the hip, or a position of the arms. On the other hand, I've been shy almost to a handicap in my history, and even now I'm a bit habitually reticient. And the state of my mind, when I'm busy being shy, is one of over-empathy. I'm thinking fearfully about what I think you might be thinking about me. And sometimes it's pretty accurate, what I'm thinking that you're thinking.

What a mess. I feel alienated and don't seem to know what to do around everyone, a Stranger in a Strange Land. Yet on the other hand, I seem to have myself too open to everyone, and question myself into infinity.
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At Poisonhand's request, I provided these answers to his survey: :)

Name: Leslie Michael Orchard

Age: 25

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Have you read the instructions: (ignored)

Religious/Spiritual Background: Eclectic open-minded reverence with neo-pagan leanings

Current favourite song: "Alive", Edwin

Whats in yer CD player right now: Emiliana Torrini, Love in the Time of Science

Last time you laughed: 30 seconds ago.

Last time you kissed someone, and meant it: Last week

Whats been the highpoint of your life thus far: Being in college

Name three things you want to do before you die: Get a Doctoral degree, visit outer space, and raise some brilliant children.

What was the last movie you saw: Blow

If you could play any instrument, what would it be, and why: A synthesizer, because it can sound almost like anything.

What in your own words, does love mean: Reunion.

Are you happy right now: Fairly so.

Do you enjoy horror movies: Yes, but only the really psychologically creepy ones. See: Clive Barker. (Stephen King is not scary.)

Do your friends tell you that you laugh at twisted shit: Often.

Give an example of twisted shit youve laughed at: BabySmasher.com

Do you have any Tattoos, or piercings? if so where: No, completely unmarked and without extra holes.

Does the sight of blood, and gore excite you, rather than disgust you: Real blood/gore makes me ill. Simulated blood/gore can be funny as hell.

Have you ever felt like you were two steps ahead of everyone else in thought: Sometimes.

Do you believe in Karma, Fate, and Reincarnation: Yes.

What is your pet-peeve: Blatant, unabashed stupidity.

Name an annoying habit you have: Being cranky.

List your addictions: Coffee, smoking.

Give an example of something mischievious youve done: In a CMU college dorm, the doors were set back in the hallway walls. If one taped newspapers across the doorway, there would be a 2-3 inch space between the newspaper and the door. My roommates and I did this, and filled it with cheap 1 day old popcorn from the University Center. Knocked on the door and ran. The airflow from the opening door sucked the popcorn in and blasted it all over the room.

Did you get caught: No, but we helped them clean up and vowed to catch the bastards who did it. (They always suspected, though.)

Reveal the wildest place you made love: Her grandmother's kitchen floor, at 2:00am, while grandma slept.

Have you ever wanted to kill someone: Not really, other than figuratively speaking.

Who, and why: Various blatantly, unabashedly stupid people.
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Trying out a new icon that I swiped from a scan I made of my new favorite anime series. (Yeah, I'm joining the anime icon club, I know I'm not the first. ^_^) It kinda looks like me, when I shave off the facial hair. Let me know what ya think.
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From the journal of Quasilaur:

...Just fucking try to be good to eachother. Put a little love in your heart. Forgive those who have wronged you a million times and then some. Welcome those who have scorned you once they come back...throw a feast...and do to others as you would have others do to you. Dance around the maypole....feel god in a sunrise and a sunset, and hug a tree who's age surpasses your grandmother's. We only get so long folks. And to me, redemption is not about saving yourself from a hell after death..it's saving you from the hell that can be life. Forgive yourselves, forgive eachother...ask for forgiveness...recieve it. Endeavor to do better, be better. Listen, and learn. Be humble.

I don't fucking know. Maybe I'm just saying this all cos I want to believe this right now. I don't know anything...I just don't know. I'm over tired, cold, naked and cranky.

Have mercy on us all, for we are all complete fuckheads...
Amen.
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Something else I think about from time to time... What would it be like to live in a time in the past. I don't mean time travel or anything like that, but to have been born in the 19th century, or say the 10th century. When this subject comes up, I sometimes have a hard time convincing friends of something: People really were different then. The way their minds worked was different. Perceptions of time were different. One's general sense of the world was different.

I kinda remembered this notion in that rant I had, where I mumbled something about people in the Dark Ages really believing that the Pope could send them to hell. Well, the thing is, that's true according to most historical accounts. And people in Ireland really did believe in the Good Neighbors, left milk outside for them, and skirted around mushroom in the woods. Today, we see things like that as a quaint superstition, and can only really imagine these things in a kind of abstract imagination.

But think for a moment what your life would be like if you never had a clock or watch, and neither did anyone else. Maybe only the sun and shadows it casts. No calendars, unless it was someone's job to keep track. Imagine that you never learned to associate right now with "8:00 PM", or that in 4 hours you'd better be in bed. Imagine that right now is simply right now, the sun is somewhere in the sky, and sometime after it is gone you will be tired and will lie down to sleep. Imagine that your logical brain has no numerical handle on the passage of seconds, that it's all an intuitive brain gestalt or fuzzy sense. You would know where you are in the day, but there would be no precise word for it.

This is not to say that people in past periods of history were completely different than we are now, but I'd say the further you look back in time, the more different thought and behavior were. And I mean really different. People weren't "exactly like us, only without television". Think what life was like before the Renaissance, and before science stormed the world. You look at a flame, and you probably know enough high school physics to think about temperatures and states of matter and the particulate nature of smoke. Someone from the past looks at a mystery, a spirit, a god.

Imagine no books or writing. Or, at least, you don't know how to read or write. Memory is very different without permanent literate forms to fall back on. News flows by word of mouth, follows the rules of the telephone game, and mutates into myth and legend within a few villiages' distance. Today, the written word prevents many of the progressive errors introduced by word of mouth, and you can personally travel in the span of hours where events would have been unknown to you.

I'm not trying to glorify the present day though. Modern civilization's benefits are innumerable, lives are longer, healthier, and more enjoyable, and I wouldn't want to live in the past. But my neo-pagan leanings leave me needing perspective, to remember what it's taken to get this far. We need some re-linking (religion?) with rhythms and patterns that we used to know first-hand, and keep ourselves in check. And that's what I realize when I think about how different life and thought was in the past-- think about how different life and thought is now and think about how it will change. Will we stumble into disasters because we've lost the ability to think in a way that we did before? Will we become something more, or something less?

I Am A Member of a Civilization, and proud of it. But I don't want to lose track of the lessons that made it possible for me to be one.
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Nana-kitty is snoring on my lap (and she's loud!), and Puck-kitty is curled up on top of the VCR remote.

And wow, I haven't had a good rant in awhile. I try not to, because ranting is where I'm most likely to fall on my face and reveal myself as a baka blowhard. On the other hand, it's the best way to get some disagreement and some words going around. It's the puckish side of me that likes to get a rise sometimes :)

Oh, and one other thing, since I can't quite think of anything really significant to say... If you're thinking of setting up a home network, getting a DSL line or cable modem, or just have more than one computer and only one phone line...

Buy an SMC Barricade (model SMC7004BR)

Why? Let's see... I've been building little Linux boxen from spare parts for years now. The usual formula is a 486 and motherboard laying in someone's closet, a lil <1 GB hard drive, 2 network cards, and a good afternoon of installation and tweaking and maybe a little scripting. And in the end we have a box that stands between the outside network and the inside network. Once or twice, I've even had it set up as a print server, and lately I've had it connected to both a cable modem and a plain phone modem for backup.

But you know what? This little box, the SMC Barricade, is all of the above (minus the hard drive). It's a 4 port switch (in short, better than a hub); is managable via web browser; does NAT so that up to 253 machines can share a connection; does DHCP so that those rhetorical 253 machines all get addresses; shares a printer between PCs; supports DSL, cable modem, and even plain PPP over a serial modem.

The thing is smaller than the US Robotics 56k modem it's connected to right now. And it worked in 15 minutes. Plugged it in, got it on the network, plopped in the settings for my ISP, and voila. To use the printer I attached to the box, I had to install some drivers on my Win98 laptop that give it a simulated printer port that talks to the box over the LAN.

So, from the box, it took me all of 20 minutes to have a net connection via phone modem, IPs and network for all my machines, and a shared printer. I haven't tried it yet, but supposedly the printer sharing even supports UNIX lpd printing.

And I bought it for US$120. I'd say that more than makes up for all the spare part scrounging, tweaking, and afternoons I've spend futzing with mini-linux boxen.

Wow. I love things that just work, and that simply do everything I want them to do.
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(Warning, this might tick you off :) )

Here's the question that bothers me sometimes: In most dramatizations, characterizations, or anthropomorphic representations of Good & Evil, the Evil entity or force tends to be the more complex, interesting, and charismatic. Why is that?

If I remember right, this was one of the huge controversies with Milton's Paradise Lost, because his Satan was so much more suave than the forces of good. Now... on one hand, one could say, "Duh, that's because Man is depraived in nature, so of course people will be more attracted to Evil!"

But the thing is, that's bullshit. This kind of thinking is what drove the Dark Ages and made every person beholden to both a King and a Pope.

This is fiction we're talking about. In reality, I doubt that people, on a statistical scale, are attracted to real evil-- and I mean terror, death, gore, slaughter, pain, atrocity, and holocaust. Real evil is not fun, or attractive, or clever, or suave. Real evil is bloody and tragic and senseless and blind. I tend to believe that people are, overall, decent and good. Because, otherwise, the species would have never risen to dominance or lasted this long. It's a practical matter, more than one of faith.

So why, in fiction, is the bad guy or anti-hero so attractive?

Consider context. In American culture, "Good" and "Evil" tend to be defined by the Anglo/Christian context, and so the use of Good and Evil in fiction tends to draw from that. So my explanation? The Christian definition of Good and Evil is perverted and contrary to our human natures. We're not tragically flawed, the religion is. We have a sense, deep down, that there's something good in the "Evil" character, and something wrong in the "Good" guy.

I've got some specific notions on why this is, and what the perversions are in particular, but I'll try to keep this from becoming a 40 page book.

Anyway, in fiction, you can do almost whatever you want to with the fabric of reality there. And the thing is, you can keep the reader captured as long as you can manage to walk a tight rope between belief and disbelief. And sometimes, belief is not realism, it's adherence to shared context. So, if the story agrees just enough with what you've been told, and just enough with what you've seen, you'll be carried along. The danger is, you might not realize what's reality and what is doctrine, and where the two might diverge.

So, yeah, I'm saying that Christianity diverges from reality. Thus the fictional good & evil are not the same as real good & evil, and at some level we know there's a difference but we might not know why.

Belief

May. 3rd, 2001 11:09 am
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Thanks to quasilaur for the link to the belief-o-matic, which in turn she got from ascetic's journal...

Here's how I apparently rate:
(I was raised somewhat in the Lutheran sect of Christianity, but I don't quite remember...)

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. New Age (93%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (91%)
4. Liberal Quaker (79%)
5. New Thought (70%)
6. Secular Humanism (68%)
7. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
8. Mainline to Liberal Christian/Protestant (61%)
9. Scientology (60%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (59%)
11. Reform Judaism (56%)
12. Hinduism (56%)
13. Sikhism (47%)
14. Atheism and Agnosticism (46%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (45%)
16. Jainism (44%)
17. Taoism (42%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (41%)
19. Orthodox Quaker (41%)
20. Baha'i (39%)
21. Islam (30%)
22. Eastern Orthodox (25%)
23. Jehovah's Witness (25%)
24. Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) (25%)
25. Roman Catholic (25%)
26. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (19%)
27. Seventh Day Adventist (19%)


It seems about right in line with how I think about myself, though I don't really know much about Quakers. I will have to look at some of these categories more, not that I am those categories, but it's interesting.
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Theme of the Brunnen-G

Veo-aye-oh
Veo-aye-oh Ome-vaah-ray
Veo-aye-rah Jerum-Brunnen-G
Veo-aye-oh Ome-vaah-ray
Veo-aye-rah Jerum-Brunnen-G
Veo-aye-oh Ome-vaah-ray
Veo-aye-rah Jerum-Brunnen-G
Veo-aye-rah Jerum-Brunnen-G
VAIYO A-O
A HOME VA-YA-RAY
VAIYO A-RAH
JERHUME BRUNNEN-G


Okay, maybe I'm a freak, but I sing this song at the start of the show.
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Okay, so I've had a Sony Vaio PCG-505TR SuperSlim laptop for about a year and a half now, and I've loved it. It's tiny-but-not-too-tiny, light, and works almost perfectly running Linux. I use it as my main development machine, and workpad. It's not a workhorse, but it does enough, and I also know whatever I get running well under its conditions should run great on a bigger box. But, it's starting to show its age, and I'm starting to get into some Java development that is straining the poor thing.

So... First I look at a new Vaio, but then this shiny thing first caught my eye. Now, you need to recognize the significance of this. In years past, I was a joyous Mac taunter. I giggled at iMacs and belittled their freaky little puck mice. And although the styling of G3 macs gave me pause, I still pointed and chortled at the pitiful Mac OS it was running. But now... but now... Mac OS X is in the world, and this latest Powerbook from Apple is even sleeker and better designed than my beloved Vaio. But damn is it expensive. I could *almost* swing it...

But then someone sent me a link to the new iBook. I think I'm doomed now. It packs so much into a package only marginally bigger than my lil Vaio, yet costs less than my Vaio did when I bought it.

Apple must be doing something right, if they've managed to turn this old Amiga-enthusiast-reluctantly-turned-PC-user into a budding Mac enthusiast. I think Apple's doing what I'd hoped Amiga would have someday done, only with more flair and clout than the old girl could have swung.

Jinkies.
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Okay, so I've been almost completely incommunicado over the last few days. I kept you all in terrible suspense about the move and everything. (Well, maybe not you, but someone's in suspense out there. Well, okay, maybe they're not in suspense about me moving. So, let's say: a) I moved. and b) Someone's in suspense. Okay? Fine.)

So anyway, the roommate and female friend helped me move out. Amazingly, they packed the truck almost completely without me. I was working on cleaning up the basement a bit, came back up and discovered that everything was almost done. In the end, there was really no confrontation. I got the couch and a TV, but I wussed out on the microwave and the DVD player. After packing the truck, we drove out to Ann Arbor and in record time dumped everything that I own into this apartment. I did not really expect to have this all done in one night. It was amazing, considering that due to ATM withdrawl restrictions, I almost couldn't come up with first month's rent in cash... and that we had to chase a Uhaul truck between Royal Oak, Roseville, and Pontiac.

The next day, Saturday, I was hoping/expecting to see some of the people who'd mentioned they'd come to help. Granted, I didn't need as much help as I'd thought, since the truck was already unpacked. But, no one showed or called, at all. So, I spent most of the day moping, and unpacking, and rearranging furniture. I did not eat any mangoes naked.

Sunday, my Mom and Grandma came by and tore through the place like a force of nature. They threw books on shelves, cleaned, helped me rearrange the kitchen, and expressed amazement at how much I'd already done. (I mean, for goodness sake, a batchelor already had a roll of paper towel, dishsoap, and a bath mat down in the tub?!) No one else showed up or called.

So here it is Monday, my last day off to finish my move-in. I have a few tasks yet on my list, but nothing major. Tomorrow, after work, I should be coming back to a nice, comfy apartment that's mine-all-mine. When I walk in the door, there will only be cats on the couch. And at night, there will be relative silence-- the adult entertainment will be gone, unless I rent it or select it from pay-per-view.

So I've probably got lots more to say, but I'd better get the day started. More later.
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There's no mistaking Gary Numan's voice. He often does weird, awkward things with it. He does inhuman things, as if he were one of the machines he sometimes sings about, a machine only recently learned to sing. He uluates from one note to another unexpected disconnected note that somehow still plays around the accompanying synths and rhythm. And the words they shape speak of vulnerable, mad humanity-- the subject of more than one song on his latest album, Pure, center around broken minds splintered into false godvoices whispering terrible advice.

I saw Gary Numan last night at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, and it was amazing. He interspersed old with new and strutted across the stage with the confidence of someone who all but invented this genre. At times he held a guitar, by the neck or by a corner with one hand as if he weren't quite sure what to do with it, or at times holding it out to the audience as a sceptre of power. And around him, the three other members of his band were hunched black-clad figures hunched over panels and keyboards, working machines-- with the exception of the guitarist, who bounced ceaselessly with the bobbing neck of a deranged bird.

Yeah, I'm being melodramatic in my description, but that was the act. The show was about melodrama-- maybe not so much as a Bauhaus stage show, but Numan played his character well. Really, it might the act might have seemed a bit cliche to some, given the blown out stage shows of bands like Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails (who've both done covers of Gary Numan)-- but Gary Numan was one of the original from whom others took their cue.

Okay, now I'm speaking in past tense about him too much, because the thing is for every classic song he played, he had something new. He's not done yet, resigning to just ride on the playlist of a greatest hits album. The new is more moody, a bit more mature and sure of itself. Listening to an interview with him, he talks about how this album, Pure, had to be so much better than what he'd done in the past. A lot of eyes have been on him, and a lot of "rediscovery" of his music has been happening and he didn't want to disappoint or trash his new credibility.

He certainly hasn't disappointed me.

(So, yeah, the show rocked.)
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God damn, for someone who puts so much stock in humor, I'm a cranky humorless bitch this morning. Didn't sleep well last night and went to bed late besides. I'm getting burnt out. On everything. Life, work... okay, not everything since I love my cats and I had a lovely weekend with Faere.

But, I need a vacation. Not sure when I'm going to get one though. Maybe this weekend, post-confrontational move, will do wonders.

Oh fuck.

Apr. 22nd, 2001 10:02 pm
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The tech world is truly ending.

Gates toppled as world's richest man

Is it going to be back to business as usual again, or what? For awhile there, I really thought that the Internet Boom was going to make a permanent change to the business world. Suits and ties were disappearing, casual wear was becoming the formality. But is all that going to pass, kinda like Miami Vice and pastels? And what about the pace? I've only been out of school since 1997, but I feel like a grizzled old veteran from doing work on the Internet and web since about 1995. I've seen browser versions come and go, new technologies splash and drown, and I've seen a few before they were coming-- but I've only got about 7 years' experience in this industry.

So I know that computers aren't going away, and the world is as tech dependent as ever. But the Internet, as we know it, might be going away. I mean, look at the sheer number of companies that have folded. Look at the money that evaporated. We had a flush of heady days of free this and free that, and everything's free. But it never was. Someone always was paying, in the hopes that they could get you some other way.

What happens now? Does it all slow down? Does it now become just like anything else? Since all the money's gone, no one will be funding the appearance of the next technology of the week. Until now, it's all been time compression for me-- one year is ten. Does that unwind now? So that I don't see the next browser version, or the next release of a Macromedia product until 2005?

Goddamn it, the Net was special. How will working in this field be now? Less 'hip', less exciting, less splash, more mundane like any other field? Does it become slow enough now to comprehend and take over for the suit-wearing people we were calling "Dinosaurs" just last year?

Maybe it's just me, but there was a life energy, a vision, an excitement, a hope, a big loud SOMETHING that I loved being a part of. I could give raspberries to my other Comp Sci graduate friends who were working in the back-office data dungeons of other stodgy old mundane companies, because they just weren't having any fun. They weren't doing anything new, they didn't need extravagant creativity, they didn't need to manage Big Change on a daily basis.

I'm not saying I wish we were all still having one big party (though it was fun!), but I do hope we still see the ideas and the ebullience. I just don't hold out much hope. I'm thinking that this past decade will take it's place right along with the others. People will be saying: "Remember the 90's? My God, massage therapists in the office and punk 24 year olds becoming millionaires? Jesus, I'm glad that's gone. Had us all worried for awhile."

The only hope, really, that this holds for me, maybe, is that things will slow down just a little. Just a bit to a managable human pace, so that we never work 72 hour days again, and so that I might someday think about having a life outside work. Maybe that's the silver lining. If it all slows down, we might get to be people again, we the tireless minions of the Digital Age. Maybe if this one year span turns into ten, I can think about getting that PhD I want and take night classes without fearing that some project or another at work will take me away from it. Maybe, and this is really crazy, I might think about having kids in the next decade or so and feel that I can spend some time with them.

Okay, I'm being melodramatic. Not overly so, I don't think. I sure as hell have stories to tell my grandkids now.

But damn I hope we get to hold on to at least a part of the magic.
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