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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moving

I'm moving servers. If you were linking to http://gardnecl.home.comcast.net/clint please switch your link to http://www.signifyingnothing.com/ . I'm not going to be updating here any longer. The Comcast service sucks too much.

Jazz vs. Nuggets

Nothing much to say about the Jazz loss to the Nuggets. That's sad.

Sad, I say.

Sad.

Not their loss or the game, but the fact that I have nothing to say about it.

Sad.

Well maybe that really isn't all that sad because all I would have said was the Jazz still show their early potential, but fail to deliver. It doesn't look like the promising season I predicted way back in November. But that's just negatorino talk, neighborino (think Flanders*).

Shit, I said something about the game.

Now that's just even sadder.

*Why did the Simpsons Movie make Ned Flanders a rather sympathetic character? I rather like it, in all, given that he has been portrayed as a crazy zealot with a very complicated past in the TV show. He is probably the most developed character in the Simpsons oeuvre, in fact. Then again, all extraneous characters on the Simpsons have been show in various lights, save the Bumble Bee guy. I'm sure for season 20 they're working on him.

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Miasma

I wrote this the other night, but didn't post it, as I was certain the malaise I was feeling was temporary:

After 6 years in this bloggy medium, I've pretty much lost interest. Do we count the 7 years of non-Web2, Web1 stuff too? that makes 13 years. Thirteen. There is, to add on top of that the 6 ambiguous years of whatever the hell that was. 19 years. 1988. And even then, even, 1987 I was toying with what was to become the Internet. 20 years.

20.

And, by god, all the other shit that came before. Oh my.

My recent break from the Internet left me cold. I suddenly realized that I had left the Internet far behind, and I liked it. I could also say that the Internet left me far behind, but I still I liked it. Perhaps we're all just hitchhikers on the way to nowhere.

1987. Do you remember 1987? I do. I loved fucking around with various pre-Internet gizmos but very much connected programs. I liked the idea. I liked the connectedness.

Now? Now?

I need a break. I need something else.

It is what it is.

To paraphrase LCD Soundsystem, "Internet I love you but you're bringing me down."

So what does this mean?

It means I need to think.
It means I need to understand.
It means I need to let go.

Mysterious, eh?

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Monday, January 14, 2008

WTF?

Star Trek (2008)?

Kahn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Simple answers of looming dread

Hightouchmegastore writes:
1. Is there someone who's planning to take my Christmas tree down for me, or help me decide what to do about the poinsettias, or who plans to enfold my shiny little Christmas objets in tissue paper? Because I could use some help with that.
2. When will there be a movie (preferably a comedy) that I can watch without effort and still feel happy at the end of it?
3. Is Bruiser lonely? He seems lonely.
4. Am I missing something, or have I eaten at all the restaurants in SLC and now they seem stale and unimaginative?
5. Is the world more full of incompetent people than it was just a couple of weeks ago? Or is it that all the systems they have for doing practically everything have taken a turn and become really, really bad?
6. Why is it just pasta polenta rice polenta pasta around here?
7. Why did the people at Wild Oats let me leave without the butter, the cheese, and the mushrooms that I paid for?
8. Is it just me? Because it seems like maybe it's just me.
To which I respond:
1) Trust me, you don't want my help, unless you like a house full of needs and many broken shiny Christmas things.
2) Such movies have been banned.
3) All dogs seem lonely to me. I think it is in their DNA. Perhaps it is just in our DNA.
4) SLC Restaurants are dull and unimaginative. There is a mediocrity here that is completely unacceptable, especially for the prices that they charge. Ask lis, I'm sure she agrees with me.
5) Yes.
6) Sounds kind of a tasty routine, if you ask me. It could be worse: you could be on the pre-packaged diet that many people seem to be on these days.
7) See 5 above.
8) No, it is not just you.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

India traffic cam

This is just hypnotic. (And you think your traffic is bad, where ever you are.)

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Best use of space

I think I've written about this song before, but the video makes the best use of the spaces (empty) we inhabit. The dog just adds to the tension. PoMo melodrama for sure.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Learn Dutch Fast

Now how's that for a return to the Internet for you?

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Well that was interesting

I can't say I learned much from not accessing the Internet for 20 days other than that email stresses me out far more than I knew. After day 2 I had totally forgotten about it and, in fact, t hat I have a job.

Accomplishments while being unplugged:

Books read: 5
Movies watched: 10 (!)
Songs listened to: over 1,000
Podcasts listened to: 0

I'm sure there's more to report, but I can't be bothered to think about it nor do am I compelled to Google anything.

Ah, vacation: now it is done. I have over 200 in work emails alone. Joy.

I'll probably keep the Unplugged website and post things to it on the off chance. I never really got into the swing of it.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

And so it begins

The day and the hour is here (well almost here.) As of 5:00 pm MST today I will not be consulting the Internet for anything. That's right: no email, no last minute looking up stupid facts to impress people, no nothing. I will, however, be posting at Signifying nothing Unplugged by scanning in notebook pages:


I've already started, just to get the hang of it. (And yes I know a standard blogger.com template is not the most elegant way to do this, but I don't have the time or the inclination to make something fancy.

See you in 20 days!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh the horror! The horror!

Or to quote another movie, "What has God done to us now."

That's right, I have a new haircut: not quite Marlon Brando baldness
of Apocalypse Now, but close.

The horror, indeed.

Hard to believe I'm giving up the Internet's tubes tomorrow.

Here' a sneak preview of Signifying nothing Unplugged!

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Give the gift of despondency

Here are some holiday music giving recommendations in no particular order and suitable commentary:
Discover the linked up think over at my lastfm site.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Somebody's party


Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Since the first two installments of this series have been so successfully commented upon (2 on the first, zero on the second), I've decided to post the next one:

3. It is over there

"So you want to end this?"

"I think so."

"Why? What did I do?"

"Its not so much what you did, Jesus! Its, I don't know. Its me. God. Jesus. Grow up!"

"Its me? Jesus."

"I mean I don't know! What the fuck do you want me to say? Jesus."

"What? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"Christ."

"What?!"

"You just sit there. You just play those stupid fucking games and drink beer."

"Give me a break!"

"That's right."

"Oh nice."

And he accidentally or on purpose kicks two beer cans out of the car that laid at his feet into the gutter as he gets out, slamming the door. "So that's it!"

He can't make out what she says through the closed car door and the blare of Wilco singing about blue sky or something. She hits the gas and speeds away into the night, barely making the corner.

He knows she is crying.

"Fucking bitch!"

He walks over to the platform and waits for the next train to somewhere else.


Next stop: poem central!

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Sir Arthur C Clarke's 90th Birth day

It is Arthur C Clarke's 90th Birth day! Go wish him well.

I think my favorite Clarke work is "Summertime on Icarus," a brilliant story published in 1960 about life and death on a hot, hot asteroid.
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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Somebody's party


Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Told you so:

2. Finding it

Jim Householder was a real fucker sometimes. We found a couple of beers once that some stupid kids threw out their car by the train station probably to avoid the cops, and he grabbed them and started to run.

"You fucker!" I remember yelling as I took off after him. "You fucker! One of those is mine!"

Jim was slow cause he had a gimpy leg since he got beat up by a cop, and I caught him pretty easy. I grabbed for the beer but caught his arm instead, causing us both to tumble onto the concrete. It was late so no one was around. The sulfur parking lot lights of the BestBuy lit up the big red gash on his forehead.

"You dumb fuck!" he yells trying to free himself and the beer from my grip. I ripped the box out of his dirty hand.

"You're the fucker!" I stood up with the beer, and noticed that I'd ripped my fucking pants. Shit. Another trip to the fucking thrift store dumpster. Asshole.

I walked over to the curb, sat down, and pulled out both the beers. Jim was laying on the concrete looking at me.

"You want one, man?" I held one of the beers out to him and rocked it back and forth.

He got up, took the beer out of my hand, and sat a couple of feet from me on the curb.

I popped my beer open and he popped his.

God I love beer. And this was even cold because it was fucking cold as hell out.

Still. It was nice beer. I pulled my coat closer, trying to cover up the torn patch in my pants. I'm not sure if I was bleeding or not.

Still. Good beer. Good beer.

Jim was cold and bitched about it. Whatever. He shut up after awhile. He liked the beer too. I mean come on. Free beer!

We sat and drank our beers until they were gone, dropping them in the gutter where we sat.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dallas V Utah

I really don't think I've seen the Jazz play better than in their loss tonight against the Mavericks. The only, and I will reiterate, ONLY reason they lost was because of horrific officiating. The Jazz were tight and held it together and almost stole it away from the referees.

My only consolation is that the point spread really fucked the refs on the Vegas bets.

Yeah, that's right: the referees are indeed crooked. You think that one guy was the only one?

Pfft.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Somebody's party


Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This little vignette inspired me to flash fiction, or perhaps it is found fiction. It is no doubt far too racy for my family-friendly blog, and far too sexist. Oh what the hell:

We are standing in the BestBuy parking lot, swilling Milwaukee's Best. It is one forty five a.m. and the trains have stopped running. The bars have closed too, but I don't go to bars because I am flat broke. It doesn't matter that I am underage. That never matters. It is all about the cash.

"Are you going to kiss me or what?" Nikki says to me out of nowhere. She is leaning back on my rust bucket Ford Escort, her beer can up to her lips all frosted with the brightest red lipstick she could find. She is wearing a low cut tight black dress and I literally feel my eyes darting back and forth over her, not sure where to settle.

She is older than me, but not really by much. Maybe 5 years. She bought the beer.

In all, I guess I'm a pretty dumb kid who doesn't pick up on cues very well. I didn't know she wanted me to kiss her. "Sorry, I didn't know you wanted me to kiss you." I didn't even know she really liked me all that much. I don't really like her that much, but her eyes are the the most crazy violet blue. She drops her beer can and it roles under the Escort and then she grabs the front of my tee shirt in one agile move.

"Well duh!" is all she says before pulling me into a hard, hot, sloppy-wet kiss, driving her tongue into my mouth.

I freeze. She looks up to my face. The sulfur light from the parking lot lights catch in her mascara-framed eyes. "Well, aren't you just the shy one!"

I drop my beer and it roles under the car to join hers in the gutter.


The upshot of this, is that I'm thinking of writing a series of pieces based on this image, speculating as to its origins. It sort of becomes "found fiction" then, after all, although I'm thinking of throwing in some less-than-ficiton word things.



Next stop: a story of two vagrants who end up fighting over the beer. I've already got it mapped out; it is kind of like McTeague but without the doneky.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

HH's place: Richard Dawkins... need I say more???

HH has an interesting post about an email interchange with Richard Dawkins that provides me a better understanding of Dawkins's position on conciousness: HH's place: Richard Dawkins... need I say more???

I am really curious why Dawkins can accept such pomo notion as the "meme" but finds the rest of it reprehensible. You will note that he links "meme" to genetic (physical) traits. I think there is a confusion between "software" and "hardware" at this point, as I comment on in the very HH post I reference above.
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Robot wars!

I want one of these robots so very, very badly.

(Thanks again to boingboing.net).

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Monday, December 03, 2007

A good reason to distrust language

Wikipedia is on the menu, according to J. LeRoy's Evolving Web: Jimmy Wales Grows Them Good and Organic. As I commented, I want to try the "Steam eggs with wikipedia." Sounds positively texty, like a 150-year-old copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Thanks, BoingBoing, you rule.

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Distrust of Language

Ok I spent a good chunk of yesterday watching Richard Dawkins's 5 1991 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children "Growing up in the Universe" which is now conveniently found on the web. It is full of the sciency goodness that I have loved since I was a child, and, despite the title of the lecture series, is a bit more challenging than one might expect. The material, while presented in a straightforward manner, wasn't exactly 8th grade science, either. I found that quite provocative, actually, since many folks try to dumb stuff down for kids. I think Dawkins deserves credit for making the lectures interesting (with some, at times, dodgy props) yet challenging for the kids in the audience.

Through the series of lectures, Dawkins laid out the ideas about the origins of life, the influence of natural selection, designed vs. "designoid" things, how seemingly improbable structures such as the eye can evolve, and how we humans developed such big brains and what those big brains mean to our evolutionary status. I was particularly struck by the final lecture, which Dawkins explored the brain. While listening to it, I suddenly understood why he finds linguistic-based studies so problematic: he openly states that language is a dangerous thing. (One of the 3 dangerous things to humanity, the others being technology and our brains inherent ability to perceive patters or contain a virtual reality.) For Dawkins language can be easily manipulated and distorted to provoke certain behaviors (such as religion one would suppose). Dawkins also does not accept the notion that we make reality out of our world through language. He prefers some sort of virtual reality model as opposed to a linguistic model to who we understand the world. He specifically states that there is little scientific evidence to show that language existed before our brains expanded in size (although I wonder how he deals with the recently revealved language abilities of other primates) and only concedes that it might be possible that we might have evolved an internal monologue before we developed an dialog with our fellow human beings.

I think this where the impasse might be between the two fields: he discounts the influence of language, whereas linguistic philosophy makes it everything--at least as far as our perception goes. I also can certainly understand better now why he thinks that post-modernists are so dangerous: they are, in his opinion, willfully manipulating language into nonsense, and, therefore, willfully misinterpreting data.

Fair enough, but I would point out that the very thing he is attacking in linguistic phenomenology is the very "virtual reality" that he says we also have to be careful of. Language creates a reality that we narrate to ourselves. It shapes how we see the world. It influences what we do and how we do it. Language, indeed, is not an aberration of evolution but one of those peaks that Dawkins speaks of in his "Mount Improbable" analogy. It is how we make sense of this world and how we have achieved consciousness. Granted it is not everything in how we experience the world nor how we react to it, but it is the only means we have to work within the system and communicate with our fellow critters. In other words, there is no consciousness without language.

I still don't really get how Dawkins understands what our consciousness is.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

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Oh me of little faith!

I haven't seen such an enjoyable basketball game since the last time the Jazz thrashed the Lakers. As I kept going on about in a beer-induced polemic: Fesenko is the Jazz's future. They need to stop fucking around by sending him to D-League teams, kick Collins' sorry ass onto the bench, and use this kid's energy and talent to its utmost.

In the name of Bill Laimbeer, Amen.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Woe is us!

I just heard that neither Boozer nor Okur will play tonight. Oy. That's a sure downer to what I thought might be a nice route of the fucking Lakers.

Meh.

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Outcomes assessment

I've noticed three things about the NaBloPoMo experiment:

  1. blog writing gets much more concise
  2. blogger's don't comment on other blogs as much
  3. a favorite topic of blogging is that one has to blog

The cause of each of these outcomes is the very pressure to blog. Blogging is concise, because one feels pushed to post something. Bloggers who are consequently pushed to write something, do not take the time to read other blogs and post comments. Given that the pressure of such blogging is higher than for folks who blog a few times a week, it becomes a topic in and of itself simply because it is a noticeable change in a blogger's life.

For whatever reason, I tend to blog a great deal more than my more discursive and more thoughtful blogging colleagues. No doubt this is because of my general fidgety nature. The upshot of this, however, is that the blog every day thing has not really been that big of a hassle for me. I am glad it is over, however, in that I won't feel compelled to write when I may not feel like it.

I am also glad it is over because my blogroll will get back to normal with long discursive explorations that I miss.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Uncanny valley

For Sleepy E: Simroid: Dentistry in the uncanny valley (video) ::: Pink Tentacle. Watch the video. I don't know what is more uncanny and creepy: a faux dentist's office or a faux patient. The dentist-in-training is cute, however, despite her rather cavalier style with that dental mirror. At least she apologizes for making the Simroid gag.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The plan

So a few entries ago I wrote about the plan of not accessing the Internet's tubes starting December 13. While in New York, I came up with a better plan: I will still blog, but it won't be in the conventional sense. While there I purchased this


a Black n' Red notebook imported from Ye Olde England. I shall be writing in this text, scanning the pages, and then uploading them to this old blog. While uploading I will refrain from checking the Internet for anything else (like email or comments). The temptation, of course, will be great, but I shall resist by shouting, with my arm to the square, "Get thee behind me Satan!" (Bet you didn't know I knew that much about LDS practice, did you?) I might, too, put on a hair shirt while doing this. (Bet you didn't know I knew that much about Catholic practice, did you?) I suppose the inspiration for this came from a couple of different sources, most notably Jeff Bridges, who has had a handwritten website/blog for many years now.

So, although I will not be interacting with the web, it will still be a part of my existence. It will be a bit like living in a Panopticon, I suppose, given that I will know people are reading the stuff, but I won't know what they are saying. That makes me slightly nervous, and I've contemplated turning on extra-security in comments to keep the riffraff at bay. If I were going all hog on the effort, I might just get a post office box where people could mail me comments. Now that would be a hoot, but a bit impractical.

One thing that I don't want this experiment to turn into is a running commentary on what it is like not to have access to my beloved Internet, although I fear that will be a major topic. I don't want it to be a meta-blog, simply because I find that kind of stuff tedious. We'll see how it goes.

I suppose the biggest challenge is going to be the email thing, but having ready access to information, as well as things like my banking are of equal importance. I will steel myself by offending all my email contacts so they don't feel compelled to write me and declare bankruptcy before the experiment begins.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weather haibun & suitable haiku

It is snowing and I sit by my window reading a book of winter haiku.

Here is a haiku by Miura Yuzuru
Snow on top
Lengthens
The height of the gateposts.
Here is one by Ono Rinka
A winter shower driving down--
Turmeric flowers
In full bloom.
And, finally, we have Nozawa Setsuko
Heaven and earth
Convulsing in the same breath
Let fall a tremendous snow.

I've always liked to sit and watch snow. It is a good diversion. One feels so much comfort by snow, even though it is, of course, cold and treacherous. It covers the world, making it all fresh and new, yet at the same time killing the last remnants of fall. Roads are slick. People fall on concrete. The snow falls in swirling, beautiful patterns, smoothing even that out. It is calming to sit by the window as the snow falls and read. So I take up my pencil and write in the margin next to the three poems:
Snow falls quietly
As I read by the window
Words settle my mind.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

It must be some Commie plot!


Mahleres & Siampenos Bldg., Price, Utah, originally uploaded by arts enthusiast.

Overheard in Craig Mecham's* excutive board room: "What? You can make use of old buildings if you take care of them? What nonsense is that!?"

*Mecham is the developer slavering to tear down Sugar House, SLC, Pretty Great State, Californicated, United States, The Universe.

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Brunch with the Jazz


Brunch with the Jazz, originally uploaded by Theorris.

A flickr contact is working on a linguistic project about how basketball fans talk, so a few of us gathered at Fiddler's Elbow to watch the Jazz smash the Pistons. These folks were not a part of our group, but, as you can see, were equally enthusiastic. I ate way too much bacon. It is nice to meet fellow Jazz fans. Most folks I know are rather ambivalent aside from Croin, Catinlap, Middlebrow, and Hightouch.

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"It is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury...." (Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, scene 3, 26-27)

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Name: theorris
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Two things I need: 1) Environmentally sound vehicle with sporty looks but able to go camping at the drop of a tent pole; 2)Google to allow the strike tag back into their profile box. Do nothing evil, eh, Google? That's pretty damn evil.

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2007: simple living.