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Saturday, June 30, 2001
resisting the invitation (via dle)

I don't fall into trance-like states when someone reads out loud. Guided meditations, poetry readings, sermons, I approach them all with an analytical and focused mind, listening to the words, the use of language, staying firmly in the present. Besides, I don't relax in groups. Then Sister suggests we "approach the water" and share some word or phrase that best expresses what has arisen in us, what emotion or feeling, during the meditation and singing. "Oh Shit", I say to myself.

What arises in me is a sudden surging through the barrier reef of my social self, a feeling of despondency, grief and rebelliousness, of wanting to say, "to hell with all of it!" and light up a cigarette, to chug on a beer, and say the word "Fuck" really loud.

Yet I'm in this room, I'm in this program, where I'm supposed to be discerning if I'm "called" to be a spiritual director. People are standing up one by one, dipping their hands in this bowl of water, saying pleasant things like "God is here with us" and "Compassion moves through my soul as God calls to me" and such, and I'm listening to myself silently swearing, my heart's pounding, my face is getting hot, and my turn to stand up and do something with the water is close, its almost my turn, it is my turn, I sit in my chair, I know I won't be able to speak, can't someone bail me out of this, should I just sit here damn it, then I get up, I walk to the stupid bowl of water, I gasp out, through my tears, "I feel deep grief." Then I sit down and wipe my face with my sweater.

I really hate this stuff. No one else is crying, no one else even looks shook up. I've cried at every ritual since the program began. I can't shut it off, can't stay in my adult, social persona, and I wonder what I'm doing in a program where everyone seems very balanced and suffused with God's grace, and I'm getting more and more messed up as the months go on. I feel different from the others, more extreme in my responses. But to pretend otherwise seems impossible, and my only other choice is to quit the program altogether.

My understanding of Christianity is that it demands that we pay attention to other people, that we love them, live in community with them. I don't do well in communities. I sabotage my own attempts to fit in. When I was eighteen, I traveled with a madrigal choir group to Europe. On the last day of the tour, at the last concert in Chartres Cathedral, I pleaded a sore throat and spent the concert in the pews, not singing. I excluded myself. When I was an active member of a 12-Step program, I would regularly leave the meeting before the closing prayer, missing out on the handholding, the chatting afterward, and invitations to go for coffee. I skipped my college graduation, cut the last day of a favorite class, bailed on the senior prom. I reenact what I perceive to be my role in life, over and over -- that of the outsider, looking in at the party from outside, nose pressed up against the glass, maneuvering my own exclusion. So when I feel excluded by God, I'm right at home. I invite Christ into my heart; he declines the invitation.

not proud (via sensible erection)

I kinda wet my pants today and it showed a little bit on the outside of my pant's. When I got home I didn't change my underwear or pants and just sat down on the sofa and watched TV.

...

I've been home from school for more than a month and I've hardly unpacked more than some of my clothes and my weed pipe.

...

i was suppossed to go to a party tonight, but i got really stoned before i went, drove by and then decided a taco salad, fun dip, pop rocks, and old tv movies sounded way better. i love it......

Friday, June 29, 2001
Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose -- to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its Divine Ground.

--aldous huxley

***
After several years working in this industry, and several more being one of its unwashed victims, I think I might have hit upon the secret of advertising.

I was in an informal meeting recently to present a few concepts my partner and I had developed. As we presented one, explaining how it made the intended audience consider something very specific about the 'product category', the creative director asked, "ok, but do people ever really consciously think about this product category, and particularly this specific aspect of it?"

I thought about this for a moment and said, "No. But isn't that what advertising is? Creating a problem that doesn't exist, making people thinking about something they never considered before, and then solving that problem in the same breath?" He agreed and we all laughed from deep within our grateful bellies, knowing we'd all picked the correct career path.

--todd levin

***
They do things differently in China.

My office-mate, Tao, is originally from China, and he has a Chinese stapler.

You know how on some staplers, the little metal plate that bends the staple around is reversible, so that you can bend the staples either inward or outward? Well, Chinese staplers have the same feature, but mechanism is, er, somewhat different!

--michael stillwell

Thursday, June 28, 2001
produkt placement

this was on dotcult a while ago. i guess stile is featuring more of his stuff on the prodjekt. btw, alexander who was also posting on dotcult a while back is running AKpCEP. he wrote the awesome observer at the end of time.

BITCHIN LEGAL HIGHS 2!!!!!!

got an email from dan :) i guess bitchin legal highs was taken down. he also says he might've "just proved that the automorphism group of the pants complex of a hyperbolic surface is isomorphic to its extended mapping class group."

Wednesday, June 27, 2001
warp records visions

carey recommends:

he can't assure the quality of the others. "These all have winning moments, though."

Tuesday, June 26, 2001
he nuzzled into her neck and fell asleep to her smell.

****

he awakened in a climate controlled environment, splayed out at waist level.

****

he licked and licked and licked and licked and licked and licked and licked and licked.

        "stop it jake," she said, "you're only going to make it worse."

Monday, June 25, 2001
watched the tailor of panama and saw cube. they both looked great and had similar themes of gaming and conspiracy. cube opened with this awesome sequence, like when jennifer lopez first enters the mind of vincent d'onofrio in the cell. after the sacrifice you just go with it.

here's a (spoiler) sparkling bit of dialogue courtesy of cube 2 (based on a hypercube!)

***
QUENTIN:
Who are you?
WORTH:
I'm the poison. I designed the outer shell.
HOLLOWAY:
What?
WORTH:
The shell, the sarcophagus.
LEAVEN:
You built this thing?
WORTH:
Not this part, the exterior. I don't know anything about the numbers or anything else in here. I was contracted to draw plans for a hollow shell. A cube.
LEAVEN:
A cube! Why didn't you tell us?
HOLLOWAY:
For God's sake, Worth. You knew what it was.
WORTH:
No
QUENTIN:
Worth, you're lying.
WORTH:
It's not a first.
HOLLOWAY:
Who's behind it?
WORTH:
I dunno.
QUENTIN:
Who hired you?
WORTH:
I didn't ask. I never even left my office. I talked on the phone to some people, other guys like me, specialists working on small details. Nobody knew what it was. Nobody cared.
QUENTIN:
Bullshit. You knew from square one. Look at him, he's up to his eyeballs in this thing.
HOLLOWAY:
No Quentin. That's how they stay hidden. You keep everyone separated so the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. The brain never comes out in the open.
QUENTIN:
Whose brain?
HOLLOWAY:
It's all the same machine right. The Pentagon. Multinational corporations. The police! You do one little job, you build a widget in Saskatoon, and the next thing you know, it's two miles under the desert, the essential component of a death machine. I was right! All along my whole life I knew it. I told you Quentin. Nobody's ever gonna call me paranoid again. We gotta get out of here and blow the lid of this thing.
WORTH:
Holloway, you don't get it.
HOLLOWAY:
Then help me, please, I need to know.
WORTH:
This may be hard for you to understand, but there is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan. Can you grasp that? Big brother is not watching you.
QUENTIN:
What kind of fucking explanation is that?
WORTH:
It's the best you´re gonna get. I looked and the only conclusion I can come to is that there is nobody up there.
QUENTIN:
Somebody had to say yes to this thing.
WORTH:
What thing? Only we know what it is.
QUENTIN:
We have no idea, what it is.
WORTH:
We know more than anybody else. I mean somebody might have known sometime, before they got fired or voted out or sold it. But if this place ever had a purpose, then it got miscommunicated or lost in the shuffle. This is an accident, a forgotten perpetual, public works project. Do you think anybody wants to ask questions? All they want is a clear conscience and a fat paycheck. I mean, I leaned on my shuffle for months on this one. This was a great job!
QUENTIN:
Why put people in it?
WORTH:
Because it's here. you have to use it or you admit it's pointless.
QUENTIN:
But it is pointless!
WORTH:
Quentin, that's my point.
HOLLOWAY:
What have we come to? It's so much worse than I thought.
WORTH:
Not really, just more pathetic.
QUENTIN:
You make me sick, Worth.
WORTH:
I make me sick too. But we´re both part of the system. I drew a box - you walk a beat. It's like you said Quentin: is keep your head down, keep it simple, just look at what's in front of you. I mean nobody wants to see the big picture. Life's too complicated. I mean, let's face it. The reason we're here is it's out of control.

***
harvey s. karten likened it to a cronenberg film in a review. it was kinda like eXistenZ i guess. he offers up as an anodyne:

Any attempt to give in to shyness and give ourselves over to the glitter of mechanical substitutes will further our neuroses and lead to the mayhem [that neither we nor the players know when they are in the game or when they have returned to reality] to which Ted and Allegra become privy.

***
um, which is precisely how the tailor of panama resolves, like if you transition from closet land and death and the maiden filtered through 007 and dr. strangelove :)

"think of it as a game," and "there is no silent opposition!"

boorman adds nice touches throughout, from casting jamie lee curtis in the same role she had in true lies (and true lies 2) to "beau travail" film poetics :) there were these great extended shots of driving down streets in panama city.

***
sort of apropos, i'd just like to say they wussed out at the end of outbreak.

Sunday, June 24, 2001
basic calculus: from archimedes to newton (via booknotes)

the prehistory of ai (via ptypes) also see expert systems and cyc

Saturday, June 23, 2001
cyc (via slashdot) also see gac (via missingmatter)

the ultimate limits of computers

wired article about the NIST :)

Friday, June 22, 2001
crankyj sends some digital love from paris, france :) not for the bandwidth conscious, no love for you!

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