How to be an explorer of the world

Wally found these inspiring instructions written on a piece of paper while exploring Winnipeg. He made a bunch of photocopies and gave one to me. I thought they were pretty wonderful so I’ve inscribed them for all to grok.

  1. Always be looking. (Notice the ground beneath your feet.)
  2. Consider everything alive and animate.
  3. Everything is interesting. Look closer.
  4. Alter your course often.
  5. Observe for long durations (and short ones.)
  6. Notice the stories going on around you.
  7. Notice patterns. Make connections.
  8. Document your findings (field notes) in a variety of ways.
  9. Incorporate indeterminancy.
  10. Observe movement.
  11. Create a personal dialogue with your environment. Talk to it.
  12. Trace things back to their origins.
  13. Use all of the senses in your investigations.

There’s some really good advice in there for everyone.

Down and out in the spiritual limbo

I guess in the scheme of things, I was destined to find a place like this. It’s what’s known as a ‘character’ building, one that is old and unkempt but elegant. On my second night, there’s a pulse beating below me, and my office chair tends to roll towards the centre of the living room, but overall, I’m happy. This is where I want to be; the heart and soul of what little night life Winnipeg has to offer. It’s a strange adjustment – going from the suburbia to this, but as ever, I’m an adaptive personality. I just wish my chair would stop rolling downards.
For some reason, I lost the will to write over the last year. Maybe it was WoW. Maybe it was my infatuations. Whatever it was, the creative well has surged and I want to express myself again. It’s an odd sensation – for so long lethargy has dominated me. I’ve been so busy with this, that and whatever that I felt there was no reason to pay attention to this blog. I felt guilty over the months, but not guilty enough to provide any kind of insight.
A large part of the problem is I find myself constantly in these pseudo relationships where I want to be more than just friends, but can’t quite breach the boundary. It’s depressing. Honestly, if I were you, I wouldn’t want to read another blog where the author went all emo, but I can’t help it – I truly feel that a huge part of me has gone missing because I haven’t experienced ‘true love’. At this rate, that’s not going to happen but I persevere. Maybe I should stop falling in love with long time friends. Maybe I should find someone new, but I can’t shake the idea of someone that I’ve known and love, or think I love. I guess that’s where the confusions lies.
Enough of that bullshit.
If I had to name a hero of mine beside Hunter S. Thompson, I would name Richard Dawkins. Most of the time athiests are very concilatory – they allow religious folk to ‘worship’ as they want without any interuption. They allow for the idea of someone else believing in fairy tails so as not to upset the delicate balance that is personal salvation. My hero, Richard Dawkins, has had enough of this hand holding. Here’s a guy who’s basically laid it on the line, his perfect intolerance to religious tolerance, and without apology has defended every attack and debate. You cannot win a debate arguing for divine intervention. Logically, you’re going to lose. I admire to such a great degree someone who has had enough with the bullshit that it makes me feel like I should say something.
Today, I had a wonderful debate with a co-worker who is a knowledgeble person but doesn’t buy evolution. At the end of the day, he has a belief in some kind of higher power that it’s hard to sway him. He presented to me a solid argument. He asked: If, a million years now, humanity as far progressed as it should be, an individual created a kind of advanced intellectual ant farm, would they not be some form of God to the lifeforms he created? This stumped me – it’s as good an argument as any I’ve encountered. Think of it – if we become so far advanced that our powers of genetic manipulation allows us to create intelligence, or even a world that was previously unknown, would that make us God? Is that an argument for God?
I argued that was a kind of fallacy – an argument as whimsical as the one saying that there is a toaster orbitting between earth and mars, and please disproove it. But it’s shaky. It doesn’t nullify his argument. It only proposes that his scenario was too far advanced to know any kind of definitive answer. Is that an answer? I don’t think it is, anymore than his argument was proof positive for that of a divine salvation, but it still got me thinking. I’ve never had an argument with a person who believed in the statistics, figures and logic of science (for the creation of our world) but still doubted the validity of evolution. It was a bit of a mindfuck.

A life less loved…

… is a life struggling to find purpose. My friends tell me that I spend too much time and invest too much emotion examining my lack in this department, but I can’t help but feel that missing this one element of our human existence is really starting to dehumanize me. I find myself caring less and less about things that I used to be very passionate about. For example, the destruction of the environment, a cause that I’ve always felt most deeply about, becomes less and less important to me as I realize that the chances of me being able to say to my grandchildren ‘I helped mend our ways’ are slim because I don’t foresee children, let alone grandchildren in my future.
Perhaps it’s a hangover from the christmas season, but mainly it’s the build up into the valentine’s day fever pitch. Yet another whiny voice on the internet, complaining about the commercialized nature of a manufactured greeting card day, I know. I’m pretty sure the Internet doesn’t need another lonely guy poring his emo soul out onto a traffic-less blog, but damnit I really don’t care anymore. In my life, I have never had a love-filled valentine’s day. Every single year, I’m reminded again of my loneliness. I don’t know what it is about me that women find so undesirable, but it’s wearing me down. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I see my friends and family, happy with their loved ones, making lives together and I look at my life, and weep inside. I feel like Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love, raging about how he has so much love to give. I’ve held a flame in my heart for so long now, and to find it unrequited was a blow of the worst kind. To get rejected from a stranger, from someone you met in a bar, or a library, or a cafe is nothing. You can shrug it off, they don’t know you. To get rejected from one whom you’ve known for years, who can’t see you as you see her, well it’s soul shattering.
I try to deal with it but I can’t. I keep coming back to the passion, the love, the emotion I felt that was just wasted. Completely wasted, and I don’t think love in an unlimited resource. I think we only have so much to give without being replenished by someone else, and I haven’t ever been replenished. I’ve never been in a relationship where they felt about me the way I felt about them, and once again I keep coming back to the question, what the hell is wrong with me? What makes me so unsuitable for any type of relationship?
I know I’m not perfect, but I’m not a bad catch. My friends tell me I’m smart, I have a good job, and I’m easy to get along with. I’m well traveled, funny and not incredibly ugly. Sure I could lose a couple pounds and do a little more with my life, but worse people than I have found true happiness in the arms of another, so why haven’t I?
I think I’m done now. I don’t feel any better, in fact I’ll probably feel worse later on but at least I’ve written something, as incoherent and rambling as it is. I said earlier my friends tell me that I put too much emphasis on love, but it’s easy for them to say this. They’re the best possible people in the world, but they can’t see the world the way I perceive it, they haven’t lived a life less loved…

While you were sleeping…

It’s a funny thing, the Internet. Online communities can become like mobs, united in opinion and righteousness over an idea. At midnight last night, the forumers at ytmnd.com launched a raid on the ebaumsworld.com forum, massively posting on their forums and generally causing a ruckus. Why? Well, it’s complicated. I think to start with, you should check out this flash show (warning, contains explicit lyrics). The gist of it is that Eric Bauman is accused of stealing other peoples creative works, slapping a ‘hosted on ebaumsworld.com’ watermark and making loads of cash. So it seems that many are unhappy with his apparent piracy, and when an image created on the ytmnd.com site was ‘stolen’, the above stated righteous fury took over and mob mentality ruled.
It’s an interesting phenomenon though when you think about it. Is it not akin to the villagers taking up the pitchforks and torches and going to slay the monster that lives on top of the hill? Is electronic vigilantism an ethical and moral way of dealing with the ‘lawless’ internet? I know there are other types of vigilante’s out there who take it upon themselves to target child pornographers, and some record companies seed p2p networks with bogus mp3 to stem rampant downloads, so the question is do the ends justify the means? Did they break the law, because technically, the were committing a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on another server. Is this kind of thing something we’ll see more of in the future? As online communities draw together and split apart, will ‘opposing’ forums be seen as the battlefield of the future?

So Digg gave me a virus

** UPDATE **
I’m a moron. Please disregard this post. I’d delete it if I didn’t have strong view on censorship.
** /UPDATE **
I was browsing digg.com, trolling for news stories, trying to get my fix. Digg is social link propogation website, relying on individuals to submit new links and users to ‘digg’ it or not. Sites that are dugg enough make it to the front page and the vast, unseen lurkernet. I’m a link junky, and digg provies my fix with its digall page. This is the melting pot where all new stories get dumped; From here a meme is ya’d or nay’d. I clicked on a link that I guess I shouldn’t have, and unfortunatley (or maybe fortunately) I since cannot find. The page took me to a site which said ‘entertainment.com’ in the URL (going to that url directly is not what appeared on my screen), and congratulated me on having a virus. Since I clicked that link, the behaviour of my firefox has changed. It seems as if the stylesheets are messed, or something’s not rendering correctly. At first I thought google had changed their page because the ads didn’t appear in shaded boxes. But since going to other sites show the same effect, I can only conclude that I do, indeed, have a virus.
So why am I writing this? I’m not terribly upset, as I’ve wanted to do a clean install of my computer for a couple weeks, and I can probably live with the changes and I’m too lazy to figure out what’s wrong. I don’t want to bash digg.com, as I’m very happy with it as it was quickly adopted into my ‘must read’ site set for each day. I guess I just want to point out a flaw in the digg.com philosophy, much like the controversy lately with Wikipedia, that allowing unfettered access to changes opens us up to all sorts of potential griefing. Is there some way to figure out if someone is trustworthy or not? Or are we always doomed to have at least one soldier in the battle take the bullet or step on the landmine?
Digg is an interesting conception. In the ‘geekosphere’, rarely has any website ever come close to challenging the venerable ‘slashdot.org‘ in terms of cutting edge, geek-centric news. Digg though has seemingly done so in a time frame that is in scope with popular internet memes. Also, a recent infusion of capital can only mean that soon more people then just geeks will know about it. The only question, as with any niche website, is how well will it fair once the vacous eye of the general public focuses on it?

Savagery and Sophistication

I have been in Romania for almost two months now. I should be regaling you with tales of incredible exploit, of new adventures and new people and new experiences. However as you can see by my archives, the sad truth is that I’ve been otherwise ‘preoccupied’; that is beta-testing an idea for a video game vacation.
Now I’ve talked about video games in the past and my own personal addiction to them. I don’t know why the call of electronic hubris attracts me so, but the digital realm of entertainment has always been my Achilles heel. I have propositioned to my Romanian friends the possibility of starting a company aimed at cheap, extended video game vacations, but really this is just an expansion of my own personal wants and desires.

Continue reading Savagery and Sophistication

Whee, I’m a futurist too

Way back in 2004 in a slashdot thread about the IPO of Google, I predicted a couple of future endeavours that google would roll out when they became steeped in cash:

You see, the whole thing about the network computer which was hyped a couple years ago but never went anywhere, well that’s the future. The OS won’t matter anymore because when all of your files are online in the GoogleBase, accessible anywhere and triple backed up, will it matter what OS your computer is running? When you can rent out processing time on the GoogleOS to run hardcore programs? To store mass quantities of pictures, movies, everything with certainty?

Well, we don’t have the network computer yet or processing time on the GoogleOS, but google will soon release it’s Google Base.

Communication and Connections

I know I’ve written about the the power of connections before, but this time on my ‘own’ has only reinforced my viewpoint that the connections we make are the root of our individual personalities. Our connections fill an emptiness within us; it makes us less alone in the world then we were before we reached out and metaphysically touched someone else.
See, here’s the thing. If we couldn’t communicate, we would all be sitting on the ground, scratching out a living killing beasts and harvesting roots and grubs. With language, we’ve bypassed a barrier that exists between individual instances of consciousness. It seems to me that in hostels, the barriers that we carry with us are dropped as we are all basically lonely souls reaching out for someone else to validate us.

Continue reading Communication and Connections