Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is just to say

In living color (and you thought this would be boring, didn't you?)

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 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!

Sudden realizations

Notes on the universe

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!

Give the gift of despondency

Here are some holiday music giving recommendations in no particular order and suitable commentary:
  • Art Brut (listen to it before you buy, but once you get past the lead's singing, you'll dig it)
  • Arcade Fire Neon Bible (or Funeral if you don't have it we insist that you must have it and they are Canadian!)
  • M.I.A.
  • OK Go! (You will like these guys)
  • Ghostland Observatory (see Art Brut above)
  • Holy Fuck (only if you want to pay tribute to the now defunct Karlheinz Stockhausen)
  • Hot Chip (if you don't have their work you better!)
  • Iron & Wine (for a bit of laid-back American rockiness)
  • Matt & Kim (there is no way around their infectious personalities)
  • Living Things (if you don't have it)
  • Black Keys (if you don't have it and crave some fried chicken)
  • Broken Social Scene (more Canadians!)
  • Feist (even more Canadian music with a loungey kind of feel)
  • LCD Soundsystem (you must have this if you don't already)
  • The Streets (see Art Brut and Ghostland Observatory)
  • Berlin Final Countdown (for Gob's theme music)
  • Built Like Alaska (if you like hippies)
  • Battles
  • EL-P (hiphop yo yo yo yo you extraordinaire)
  • Peter, Bjorn & John (Scandinavian extravaganza!)
  • Sufjan Stevens Welcome to the Illinois (You will like this.)
  • TV on the Radio (you must get this particularly Return to Cooke Mountain)
  • New Pornographers (more Canadians, we know, but you will, you will like this.)
  • Queens of the Stone Age Hero of Vulgaris (or anything else!)
  • Scissors Sisters (for the hell of it)
  • Kinky Reina (Mexican Rockers, who'd uh thunk it!)
Discover the linked up think over at my lastfm site.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

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?"



"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!

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.

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.

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?


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.

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.

Robot wars!

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

(Thanks again to

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.

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.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

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.