Echo…Echo…Echo…

Believe for a moment in a set of laws of physics wherein repeating a thing brings it into material reality.

Believe for a moment that expanding individual freedoms can be imagined to be an “enshrinement of deviant proclivities”.

Believe for a moment that the absence of a thing makes a thing more believable and not less.

Believe for a moment that Believers don’t believe you when you nonetheless believe you’ve communicated effectively that you don’t believe in much of anything overarching.

Believers are a strange bunch. It’s been said that believers require the presence of non-believers; otherwise there’s no instance of belief.

I tend to believe that.

Once upon a blog, I wrote about how people have taken noble things and reduced them to baser vulgarities (meaning common, not obscene). Believers will always employ the noble term to describe actions which are quite vulgar (meaning common and obscene).

“No Child Left Behind”, “God’s Alone It Is to Judge”, “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”. You’ll see it all over the place when Believers take to Politics.

When I was brought up, back in the day, we Catholics were guided to do good works instead of punish bad works, to be good people instead of to help legislate goodness. That this world and this life were temporary and that we should be, above all else, good people and not good believers. That we should persuade by good example of good works rather than coerce with law and with threats of damnation.

Sadly ironic, then, that this kind of talk—considered quite uptight and conservative at the time—now makes it seem as if I grew up in a commune with a bunch of hippies. That’s how far the needle has moved to the right.

Believers have once again discovered the concept of a mob. Watch the villagers chase and overtake the Frankenstein monster. Watch the street urchins devour the faggot. Watch the Catholics of today form an unholy alliance with the Protestants just to eradicate the homos from society. Watch the good Christians enjoy the bloodsport of a good war. Watch the pro-lifers worship the Golden Fetus as they cheer the deaths of innocent Modern-day Mesopotamians.

The internet-enabled mob is a formidable thing. “On-message” they call it these days, y’know, because “here’s who we hate today” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. The giant electronic echo chamber: one polemic plutocrat says a thing and the throngs of adrenaline-junkie control-freaks remake the world in that on-message message.

Tens of thousands of brains poked through into the political echo chamber. It’s dark in there, but at least it’s safe. It requires elaborate and exhausting bodily gymnastics, but at least it’s a well-known quantity. It’s distasteful work, consuming and excreting and consuming and excreting and consuming and excreting the same matter over and over again, but at least it’s better than hoping for joy and then ending up disappointed.

It’s pretty much having your head up your own ass, but Believers believe it’s for a good cause. Frankly, I find it scatological.

Today’s Right-Wing Believers have become base, vulgar, spiritless, faithless, joyless fetishists who aren’t quite human any more, who plot an ascendancy that has nothing to do with Heaven.

Money-changers get involved in politics for self-interests; Good Samaritans help other people because it’s what you do when you Believe in the Greater Good of us all.

Ssssssssnakes!

Conversation at work today:

Me: “Ssssssserioussssly”.
D.: Thththththth….
Me: It’s not a lisp! Ssssssss!
D.: I can’t!
Me: Sure you can. Like a snake: hissssssss!
D.: A gay snake, maybe.
Me: That’s redundant. All snakes are gay. Look at the shape.
D.: So what do they do, adopt?
Me: Recruit.

Bitchiest Show Ever!

Tonight I randomly caught the show called Project Runway.

OH
MY
GODDESS
(that bitch)

Forget Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and even Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, this is the show that makes the Bravo Channel the gayest network EVER.

Watch a bunch of fashion designers try to work together, all the while bitching about the lack of leadership qualities in the designated-for-the-week leader. Cut to the fashion show segment. Watch the one woman be honest and complain about the leader’s lack of, well, leadership.

Watch the rest of those bitches leave her twisting in the wind by being spineless and saying nice things about the leader.

Truth: the complainer was spot-on. Truth: the leader wasn’t one. Truth: the palace intrigue of it all was faaaaabulous

Oh, and one of the guys on there, Jay, is from my home town of Dallas, PA.

You bet your ass I added a Season Pass to the TiVo for this one.

More than Half a Lifetime

Intromacjobs When I was a wee boy back in college, at the beginning of my Sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon University in 1983, I had just sold the TRS-80 computer, printer and floppy disk drives I had bought over the years prior. My computer buying had begun at the tender age of fourteen, when I got my mom to co-sign a bank loan for $600 so that I could buy a computer. I suppose that was also be beginning of my debt.

Money well-spent/well-borrowed, I say! After upgrading the BASIC ROMs on the computer, upgrading the memory—$99 for 16K of RAM—buying an “expansion interface”, an Epson Printer and 2 floppy disk drives to replace the already-past-its-limits cassette drive, and after acquiring several hundred dollars worth of software, I sold the whole mess in 1983 for about $2000.

Tandy Model1 System S1One day, when CMU had just opened their campus computer store—an unheard-of thing in those days—a few of us decided to check it out. Not much to see, just an office in the “new” office building on campus, painted cinder-block walls stock office desks. We looked at the price list and I had almost immediately decided on an IBM PC with 2 floppy drives and 16K of memory. Oh, and with the IBM display (monochrome, green characters on a black screen). This was going to clock in at around $1600. Fair enough, I figured. I was getting a 6MHz machine for less than I’d sold my 1.77MHz TRS-80.

As we turned to walk back out of the store/office, there on a desk sat a little beige machine with a mostly-white display. With one of those mouse-things attached to it (now, mice I had seen before, down in one of the quasi-subterranean floors of Warner/Science Hall….I wasn’t sure what they were for, but a small box with buttons attached to a strange-shaped computer workstation made quite an impression).

A paint program was running. I moved the mouse around and watched the cursor on the little screen follow. I clicked the button; it made a dot on the screen. I held the button down and moved the mouse, and an oval grew from the starting point!

I got the whole catastrophic beauty of this machine in less than a couple of minutes. And on February 7, 1984, just two weeks after the official introduction, I had one in my dorm room.

To this day, I have never regularly used a PC, never bought a PC for myself. I have, however, had upwards of a dozen different Macs.

Apple & the Mac have been significant yardsticks in how I measure the progress of my life, important memory-prods into very specific times in my past and quite a fine ongoing example of majority-minority patterns. In other words, I’ve learned a lot.

So, Happy 21st Birthday (January 24) to the Macintosh. Click on the young Steve Jobs above to watch a streaming video of the original introduction. You, of course, must have QuickTime installed on your machine—and shame on you if you don’t already.

I’m going to go spin the propeller on the little cap on my big head, and try like hell not to shudder when I think of what might not have been…

Feed a Man a Fish…

Now, I’m no stranger to defending myself and my ideologies from the continued incursions of the faithful staging their little—and not so little—Crusades against us Infidels, but even I often make the mistake of giving the marching-ever-onward Christian Soldiers too much credit.

I give them credit for at least being true to their own sacredly-held Apothegms, even as I see these people.

But remember, while I was raised Catholic and I begrudge no one for that experience, I discovered a whole cosmos outside the Papal Walls of Truth at some point and life outside the VatiCan’t suits me just fine. I know the truths held tight there, and I assume that most Christians hold those same values.

When you see Catholic boys, girls, men, women masquerading as calvinists, spouting things like “Feed a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime”, I get palpably upset.

Is this what’s become of the parable of Jesus with the Loaves and the Fishes? Do these people really believe that if Jesus came back today, he’d be a neocon?

Sure, it’s great to teach a man to fish, but he won’t hear the lesson over the rumblings of an empty stomach.

Teaching is a terrific thing; but learning is even better. But now I’m veering dangerously close to being one of those intellectual-elite snobs, huh? I can understand how people can feel threatened by those who can speak better, who can think more comprehensively…but there are also plenty of us who are eager to be around people who can speak better and especially think more comprehensively, because those are the learning moments.

There’s nothing better to an old intellectual snob like me than to be around smart people who are open to change. Improvement doesn’t come from stasis. Only decay does.

Too bad there seems to be so many more people out there content to rot in the stink of their own self-satisfied dogma.

Blue Bears

So as I said yesterday, I was heading out to a party with FTP, Donovan and Marcello. The theme: Blue. The outfits: blue. The boas: blue. The false eyelashes: blue. Me, because Sam wasn’t there: blue (awwww).

Anyhoo, I posted most of the pictures to ofoto, but here are a few of them, just for general consumption. I’m ascared.

Click on each for a larger version—if you dare!!

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Blue State

Sam’s off to visit his best friend, Vacabill, for the weekend; he’s been gone for about three hours and already I’m reverting to bachelor-nerd. I’d found my BroodWar CD so that I could again play Starcraft. I’ve never been much of a games player; I’ve been a games buyer, purchaser of tons of shelfware but the only game that ever really stuck for me was Starcraft.

Maybe it’s that I sit on front of a Mac all day long, doing development, keeping up with work email, personal email, blogging…you get the picture. I think I start out buying a game with good intentions, but I usually don’t even seem to get them installed, much less played.

I did have Sam pick me up iLife ‘05 and iWork today from the Apple Store. Definitely some cool stuff, especially iPhoto 5. This kind of software I use all the time.

Continuing with the bachelor portion of my comment, I’m going to a Blue Party with FTP, Madonnavan and a few others. Theme: blue. Dress: blue fuzzy boa, blue false eyelashes, blue paintsticks. I’ve only done drag the one time—and trust, you don’t wanna see that mess. This is sort of merely drag-flavored. Blue jeans, blue shirt, blue vest, blue tennies. All of it male clothing. I’m just accessorizing drag. Yeah, that’s it.

If it’s not too scary, and you’re good little boys and girls (you know who you are), I may post some pictures.

Dark Matters

I had considered “going dark” today, just like so many sites are, in protest of the Bush Inaugural. There’s even a website with graphics stating why the website is dark—a paradox in and of itself—and I went so far as to change my index.html and had it displaying for all of 45 minutes late last night.

Why did I drop that and return the site to its usual content? To be honest, my heart wasn’t really in the blackout. It’s one of our Typicals, this protesting-if-it-doesn’t-cost-us-much. This time around, Bush was elected, apparently by a wide-enough margin that no one is really contesting the victory. True, it’s a victory based on lies, a victory based on a fraudulent election the first time around, a victory based almost single-handedly and single-mindedly on the Republicans’ fear-peddling and strict-father-model dogma, but it was a victory as the system of election and government describes one.

I’m sitting this one out. Sitting out the Inaugural, too. It just makes me plain sick that he’s still in office. Sick that so many Americans only care about revenge and nationalism instead of justice and patriotism. Sick that so many Americans don’t even know the difference between nationalism and patriotism.

I love my country because of its ideals—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—not for what it is these days. I have no interest in preserving this way of life, I have an interest in improving the ways of life of every person on this planet.

You think the christians out there—the ones who so virulently and vituperatively supported Bush and the Republicans—would want the same thing.

They don’t want you to be won over in your heart by Jesus; they just want to win.

Accidental Beings in a Meaningless Universe

Once upon a time in the Midwest, my friend Rex would often posit that we are all accidental beings in a meaningless universe. I remember not so much arguing with him as against what he said. I found it dreary; I found it pointless; I found it tedious.

But mostly, I found it depressing.

But this is the standard-issue miserable scenario that most fear-peddling theists trot out as the sole alternative to a life dedicated to god.

It’s all about expectations: you run your own thoughts down a certain path, trundling headlong without a care for where you used to be because you’re dead sure that you’re on the One True Path. In the absence of perspective, in the face of the arduousness of finding your way back across the void, you instead opt to thinking of The Other, The Outside as the void and nothing more.

Understandable, in at least some way, because we San Franciscans experience that here. You’re in the City, or you’re not. The rest of the world takes on a dull patina of sameness, of mundanity, where the only color and contrast to be found is in the Interlucent City.

Of course, this is only a temporary modality of thought, a little kick in the ass to remind you of what’s special, a mental CGI to visualize the love of home.

But I digress…

I’d call it a failure of the imagination—or at least an unwillingness to use one’s imagination—when you’re of the Theist mind. You’ve become so dependent on the light of god that you believe that the absence of god can only mean the dark void.

Not so! We are not accidental beings so much as the product of accumulated accidents; the universe is not meaningless because we impart to it all the meaning we’ll ever need.

And that, boys and girls, theists and non, is how lives can be filled with wonderment and magic, science and reason, love and vitality.

And, ironically, it’s also how some of us have conjured up a creator.