Discussion:
Have you visited your stupids today?
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pataphor
2016-12-26 14:50:08 UTC
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The rumors concerning my death have been vastly exaggerated, though not
as much as those about the death of Usenet.

It's just that I feel a bit uncomfortable claiming a whole newsgroup
for myself as a kind of makeshift blog, and also, I wonder why everyone
else has left. Maybe it was because of me? Maybe they found better
quarters? Or maybe it was because they had less resistance to the
almighty pull of the time lines.

A few days ago I realized that IRC was some awkward compromise between
finding a sufficiently knowledgeable and specialized channel on the one
hand, and on the other hand finding a sufficiently populated channel,
guaranteeing enough spread in the IQ distribution to make it likely
enough to have at least a few people in there who can sustain an
intelligent conversation.

Of course, both extremes have their drawbacks, as in large channels one
has to endure more noise, and in small channels one has to accept being
in close contact with people not even understanding that copyright
funnels money to the DRM mafia that enslaves the artists they claim to
love.

Dispirited I left the scene, just in time to celebrate the eclipse
sinking to its lowest curve, an occasion I had planned to celebrate
clothed entirely in black, and also all by myself as has been
traditional for all my festivities, as well as for non festive
occasions.

So here I was, the sun entering my room through the balcony door, and I
sitting in my lean chair receiving it, luckily over here the exact
transcendental moment in time was also close to noon, only to realize
I was a day early a moment later.

Never mind, the sunlight at close to its minimax was still very nice
and I could just repeat the ritual the next day.

The next day I was sitting behind my computer at 1 hour before time
zero, or so I thought, wiki page open, a clock app on my cell phone
displaying the time prominently and some nice internet radio station
playing into my bluetooth headphones.

At the moment supreme, or the moment antisupreme, whatever, I was under
the illusion that the internet radio station knew what important moment
it was accolading, and I stood in the middle of my room, contemplating
that at this specific moment everyone on earth, above a certain
intelligence level, would share this emotion with me, simultaneously
realizing that the earth's rotation axis would now slowly start to dip
up, or dip down, depending on which pole one was closer to.

Of course I had forgotten to account for the fact I wasn't in
Greenwich anymore, worse, that I had never been there at all.

But no worries, after the appropriate time of waiting to compensate for
that fact, the moment was finally there.

What worried me though was the content of my earlier 'realization' of
global unity about the sufficiently enlightened. Was it ever real? It
did feel as if it was real.

Never mind that again, the sunlight was still gorgeous and the music
still beautiful.

After that, there followed a few days with me realizing that breaking
off my IRC routine resulted in me being all alone in the world, but at
the same time realizing there were so many things I had neglected doing
because of its constant distractions that I became the most productive
I had been in a long time.

In a previous life I have been a programmer and now my interest was
piqued by trying to display a rotating globe in 3D, with all the
countries outlined on it.

This proved to be harder than it seemed, with me pivoting between
different graphics toolkits and python bindings to them. I had to give
up on trying to avoid all javascript, or again, so I thought, and in
the end, although I found a few wonderful programs and solutions that I
could merge together to fit my specific predilection, it didn't work
out.

Not because it was impossible or not exciting, to the contrary,
everyday I woke up filled to the brim with new ideas and made a lot of
progress and at the end of the day I had various new approaches.

No, it was because during my expedited search I stumbled upon something
that I only could file under serendipity.

The thing is I had been leaving some other projects behind a long time
ago, because the original developers for the tools I developed it in had
decided not to support them anymore and instead switched to the
ubiquitous and hated 'javascript in the browser' solution that I was
spending all my time finding alternatives for. Not, by the way, that I
hate javascript itself, but just that the way it is implemented nowadays
seems to be totally out of control for the hapless user, who is
accordingly sucked into various time lines.

But here, while I was studiously searching for solutions to implement
panning and zooming for the mouse while displaying an SVG image in a
webkit window, I suddenly came across this guy who had found a program
doing that in C for a few colored cones and had translated it into
python, and not into some clumsy browser interface, no, in a real
responsive and interactive 3D program running 100% on my local computer.

I now realized that those guys who had left the software that I had
depended on, had just been distracting me from really getting into
contact with the levels below and mastering them.

Unfortunately, the weight of this realization had altered my future in
such a fundamental way that I could not continue with the rotating
globe project, as all my earlier plans that I had thought lost now had
resurfaced and would be taking precedence.

By the time it was Christmas I woke up with a feeling of happiness and
lightness and joy because of not being forced to spend time with people
not understanding even the basic principles of how the world works and
yet trying to attack my self worth.

As I rose I decided to cloth myself entirely in white and not worry
about being not distracted. In way, to me, people who think the
meaning of life is dependent upon, or even connected to one's relation
to other people, are in a similar position as people addicted to
religion, thinking that god is the source of morality.

No, I beseech you, there is a layer above that, where our self
determination is connected to some unity above mankind that isn't
limited to our loved ones, or for that matter, even the human spirit.

And to get there one just has to let go of those who lead.

P.

"babies lock their mothers' brains, and
barrenness will set you free, oh sweet Jane"
Fergus
2017-01-05 21:53:22 UTC
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On Mon, 26 Dec 2016 15:50:08 +0100
pataphor <***@gmail.com> wrote:

> The rumors concerning my death have been vastly exaggerated, though not
> as much as those about the death of Usenet.

Usenet is dead, long live Yahoo groups.

I lament the death of usenet, especially alt.angst. It was a life line when I needed one and I'm grateful for it. It was a means of meeting people who I would never of otherwise met and a place where I could share my feelings in a safe way with strangers when there were no "real life" people who would listen or understand. And now it's all gone.

>
> It's just that I feel a bit uncomfortable claiming a whole newsgroup
> for myself as a kind of makeshift blog, and also, I wonder why everyone
> else has left. Maybe it was because of me? Maybe they found better
> quarters? Or maybe it was because they had less resistance to the
> almighty pull of the time lines.

Like walking through a city after the nuclear doomsday and all the people have gone. You are the only survivor. All the infrastructure is there but nobody is using it. A ghost town, or a ghost virtual reality, who knows. Go ahead and claim it, nobody is going to challenge your claim.


--
Fergus <***@yahoo.co.uk>
pataphor
2017-01-06 11:24:48 UTC
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On Thu, 5 Jan 2017 21:53:22 +0000
Fergus <***@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> On Mon, 26 Dec 2016 15:50:08 +0100
> pataphor <***@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > The rumors concerning my death have been vastly exaggerated, though
> > not as much as those about the death of Usenet.
>
> Usenet is dead, long live Yahoo groups.
>
> I lament the death of usenet, especially alt.angst. It was a life
> line when I needed one and I'm grateful for it. It was a means of
> meeting people who I would never of otherwise met and a place where I
> could share my feelings in a safe way with strangers when there were
> no "real life" people who would listen or understand. And now it's
> all gone.

Fascinating. Here I am, writing for the distant future, since no one
seems to be here anymore, and instead people like you show up, from the
past a generation or so before, or maybe from an alternate time line
altogether, but let's not go into that.

P.
Fergus
2017-01-06 23:03:54 UTC
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On Fri, 6 Jan 2017 12:24:48 +0100
pataphor <***@gmail.com> wrote:


> Fascinating. Here I am, writing for the distant future, since no one
> seems to be here anymore, and instead people like you show up, from the
> past a generation or so before, or maybe from an alternate time line
> altogether, but let's not go into that.
>

alt.angst, the previous generation. That's me. While all the rest have gone to join the great cabal in the sky, I've come back to my old haunts for a while. Maybe indulge in a bit of nostalgia.

Nostalgia can be quite therapeutic sometimes.


--
Fergus <***@yahoo.co.uk>
pataphor
2017-01-07 13:59:34 UTC
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On Fri, 6 Jan 2017 23:03:54 +0000
Fergus <***@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> alt.angst, the previous generation. That's me. While all the rest
> have gone to join the great cabal in the sky, I've come back to my
> old haunts for a while. Maybe indulge in a bit of nostalgia.
>
> Nostalgia can be quite therapeutic sometimes.

It's therapeutic for me to write here and assume some nostalgic person
in the future reads it, so that would mean I am in support of nostalgia
in general.

However it doesn't mean I'm in favor of pushing people around in
wheelchairs right now, unless they compensate with some interesting
disclosures. Like what was the David like when he wasn't the David yet
and still fighting for supremacy? I mean if they weren't before your
time, but in that case I'd be interested in your view of the roots of
the channel itself.

As far as I can tell the prehistory of the channel was people venting
some existential fears and at the same time trying to build some
common ground wherein such extreme experiences still could have some
meaning, but in the end that mostly failed because of degrading into
rule sets unable to capture the finer details and in the end they
became more of a hindrance than inspiration.

So the creative spirit suffered, much like a wikipedia turning into a
battle ground for power mongers.

Of course there were and always have been brave spirits breaking out of
the system and enriching the commons with the new forms and constructed
realities. But lets not fool ourselves with the rosy gloss over a past
that wasn't clear of endless bickering and stubborn fights over puny
details.

I don't have an exact time frame for the rise and fall of these
tendencies and maybe for others that I haven't noticed or remembered,
but it would be interesting to have some culture historical analysis of
the channel. Unless that of itself would become a new straitjacket for
a nice empty blog that has finally wrestled itself free from the
infighting, at whatever extreme price of emptiness it had to pay for
it.

P.

"or maybe it just ran out of steam"
Fergus
2017-01-07 22:14:44 UTC
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On Sat, 7 Jan 2017 14:59:34 +0100
pataphor <***@gmail.com> wrote:


> However it doesn't mean I'm in favor of pushing people around in
> wheelchairs right now, unless they compensate with some interesting
> disclosures. Like what was the David like when he wasn't the David yet
> and still fighting for supremacy? I mean if they weren't before your
> time, but in that case I'd be interested in your view of the roots of
> the channel itself.
>

Well, I may be of a previous generation but I'm not in a wheelchair yet, neither was I around when the group started.
I was drawn to it because I was aware of existential angst and wondered what a group calling itself alt.angst would be talking about.
It seemed to be not so much about existential angst but the general anguish of life such as relationships going wrong,
or not existing in the first place and stuff like that. It was still interesting and I was happy to join in. There was also a lot of trolling
and play fighting which was entertaining in its own way.

I did meet TheDavid once in Bawlmore when I was there on business. I don't know what he was like before the alt.angst days.
I was also privilaged to meet a number of other angsters at various "angstcons" and even one or two in my home city
when they were this side of the pond and one who I went hiking with a couple of times. It was an interesting way of meeting people.

> As far as I can tell the prehistory of the channel was people venting
> some existential fears and at the same time trying to build some
> common ground wherein such extreme experiences still could have some
> meaning, but in the end that mostly failed because of degrading into
> rule sets unable to capture the finer details and in the end they
> became more of a hindrance than inspiration.
>
> So the creative spirit suffered, much like a wikipedia turning into a
> battle ground for power mongers.

I don't know why it faded out. The whole of usenet seems to have suffered a similar fate so maybe it was just a fad
which has been replaced by media like Facebook and Twitter. I do know that many of the angsters formed a mailing
list where they continued to share angstful stories but in a less public setting. The list still exists but the content is
nothing like the old alt.angst. I find I have nothing in common with them now which is angstful in its own way.

>
> Of course there were and always have been brave spirits breaking out of
> the system and enriching the commons with the new forms and constructed
> realities. But lets not fool ourselves with the rosy gloss over a past
> that wasn't clear of endless bickering and stubborn fights over puny
> details.
>

The bickering over trivia was part of the fun.

> I don't have an exact time frame for the rise and fall of these
> tendencies and maybe for others that I haven't noticed or remembered,
> but it would be interesting to have some culture historical analysis of
> the channel. Unless that of itself would become a new straitjacket for
> a nice empty blog that has finally wrestled itself free from the
> infighting, at whatever extreme price of emptiness it had to pay for
> it.

I'm sure it is all archived on google groups. I can't remember the details or even when or why
I stopped posting here.

> "or maybe it just ran out of steam"

or the cultural environment changed and left newsgroups high and dry.


--
Fergus <***@yahoo.co.uk>
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