Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Neurotic Blogger Syndromes

It's taken some time for me to realize that there are a fair number of web news aficionados, and other surfers who don't appreciate blogs or bloggers. For bloggers who are brave enough to sign up for a service like Digg.com where you can submit links to your "best" posts you better have a thick skin, and apply a good dose of flame repellent. Digg started out as a site for technology news submitted by members. Those same stories are then voted on or "Dugg" by other members for their relevance and quality etc. Although the Digg site itself will accept non-technical stories, and others submitted by blogs, there is a vocal minority of Digg members who have little tolerance for such stories, and they will leave nasty comments such as "you worthless, shameless, spammer stop posting your lame stories, or Don't post blogs", or other comments that I won't repeat here etc. Part of this may relate to the fact that the minimum age to become a Digg member is thirteen, and of course the technology news purists may resent the infiltration of other links, but then they should take that up with Digg. Nevertheless, I continued to submit articles to Digg because even flaming feedback can sometimes get your writing juices flowing in a positive way. It's hard to believe that anyone could really believe that a blogger posting legitimate stories, and making a few cents from Google ads is a spammer. In that case I must rank as the most inept, ineffectual spammer on the Internet. That isn't a knock against Google, but a criticism of my own advertising power.

Anyway, all of that negative rhetoric made me start to question and doubt the blogging life, or god forbid the "blogosphere". Maybe bloggers are all just a bunch of self centered, indulgent, narcissistic and neurotic word crunchers who should get a life. Perhaps we actually have some kind of psychological disorder? Another fellow blogger MichaelM at Smoke and Mirrors started the ball rolling with his description of Blogger Compulsive Disorder. For you blog haters out there, and for others who have a sense of humor here is a further list of Blogger disorders:

If you post to your Blog too frequently, use expletives, and shoot from the hip on various topics you may be suffering from Blogger Impulsive Disorder.

If you are frequently appalled by the design, and content of other Blogs, and leave nasty comments on them here, and there you may have Blogger Repulsive Disorder. Of course you don't have to be a blogger to have this since many Digg members are also prone to this malady.

If you are constantly thinking about what to write, or post next on your Blog, and surf the web incessantly for topic ideas, or that neat piece of JavaScript to put in your template you may be afflicted with Blogger Compulsive Disorder.
(This affliction is characterized in much greater detail by MichaelM at Smoke and Mirrors with his hilarious description of "Blogger Compulsive Disorder". )

If you are a complete slave to maintaining your blog while it destroys your social life, and your hygiene is starting to suffer then you may have Blogger Addictive Disorder or BAD as described in detail by David Thompson at ShrinkWrapped.

Looks like some of us are BAD to the bone. Now I'll put my flame suit on as this story is going to Digg.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Matrix Exposed II

Recent scientific research indicates that the technology to create a Matrix scenario may become a reality. "Now, neuroscientists in the McGovern Institute at MIT have been able to decipher a part of the code involved in recognizing visual objects. Practically speaking, computer algorithms used in artificial vision systems might benefit from mimicking these newly uncovered codes". In theory a computerized machine will be able to stimulate the brain directly with coded signals, and create visual images. In another story here "Sony patent takes first step towards real-life Matrix". "IMAGINE movies and computer games in which you get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. That's the tantalizing prospect raised by a patent on a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain - granted to none other than the entertainment giant Sony. The technique suggested in the patent is entirely non-invasive. It describes a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds. This could give blind or deaf people the chance to see or hear, the patent claims". This technique doesn't even require a direct connection to the cerebral cortex! Military interests are already exploring methods to "harness the power of the Matrix" so that mind bending Holodeck type training simulators can be made to mimic real life crisis situations. Presumably these would accurately depict the geographic and physical characteristics of the targeted environment...

Technology is coming at us like a freight train, and so concerns about mind control, and real, computerized, brain matrices are not unfounded. The research described also implies incredible potential to help people with medical problems relating to the senses, or brain function. The previous post generated some interesting comments, and discussion about the "matrix". These philosophical discussions can become circular bouts of naval gazing, even though trying to find meaning in our lives may be important. After beating this matrix analogy in to the ground where have I arrived? In my opinion spiritual awakening is highly individual, and transcends physical circumstances, and technological threats at some point. If we take the matrix metaphor too far, then we get mired down in cumbersome debate as to what constitutes a real world matrix. I believe the keys to our freedom lie within, and when we discover those keys the external world or "matrix" will change for the better. Many thanks to travel italy, Antonella, and euroyank for contributing to the discussions. There is a compelling philosophical discussion about the nature of truth seeking titled: In the Matrix, which pill would you take, the red or the blue?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Matrix Exposed

Would you take the blue pill or the red pill? The Matrix movies are still relevant, but should we use them to justify our own biased views of reality and decide who is jacked in or who is unplugged? I assume most people reading this are familiar with the ideology behind the matrix movies. The main character Neo is intitially unaware that his idea of reality is actually the construct of machines, or a computer simulation called the "matrix" until he is forcefully awakened to the truth. The story is spun with a mix of high technology, violence, and religious themes that might be akin to Eastern mysticism. The movie trilogy itself is open to many interpretations, and the plot lines have been critiqued, and analyzed by many fans, and others not satisfied with the films ultimate conclusion. In a recent post the Martian Anthropologist uses the matrix analogy as a metaphor for the human condition whereby most of us are imprisoned by our own minds, and enslaved by working at jobs we hate while numbing ourselves with television, and alcohol. This is one Earthling who must beg to differ with the Martian...

In my opinion, the matrix films are visually stunning, and philosophically challenging, but they provoke more questions about the meaning of reality than they provide answers. Even if there is ultimately only "one" reality that is beyond the reach of our five senses, and imprisoned bodies, then by definition all human versions of reality are derivative, and therefore quite individual. The reality required for one person to function, and progress through life (consuming television, alcohol, heavy work, sex etc.) may be quite repugnant to another, but possibly a prerequisite for said person to achieve an ultimate, true reality for them. The movie itself does not necessarily imply that being unplugged from the matrix would be the best for all humanity, and it certainly suggests that being "unplugged" is not for the faint of heart.

Many of us would agree that the search for truth is important, and for some of us that could mean quitting lousy jobs, or turning off the television. For someone else, such as a poor immigrant, that very job may represent everything that gives them choice, freedom, and family sustenance in an uncaring world, even though they may actually hate the job itself. The television may have opened up unbelievable worlds of freedom, and beauty that they never had access to in the impoverished country of their origin. Go ahead down the rabbit hole if you dare, but don't be surprised if you find another burrow deeper in to linger at, while a few scurry by farther into the unknown. Perhaps many of us should ask ourselves what really is the matrix? Isn't it a little ironic that many of us are spending an inordinate amount of time (including the author as this post was penned) connected to the most pervasive, machine matrix on the planet, the so called World Wide Web? Wouldn't it be easier if we simply had a neural cable connected to our cerebral cortex that we could plug directly into a USB port while we surf and communicate (remember the suspended animation chambers in the movie)? The internet may be the real matrix that we all come to fear, (what year did SkyNet become active in the Terminator movie?) and while I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, those who aspire to find "freedom" by becoming professional web masters should take heed! It may be that until our souls no longer have any need to interact with this physical, earthly plane, then we are in a sense imprisoned within this realm no matter how we define our own reality, or someone else's. Yes, there may be lot wrong with the world, and perhaps there is a moral imperative for us to make it better, but I'm not sure that we can blame the "matrix", and our lack of will to fight it. You can achieve freedom, but then you will have to accept the responsibility, and strength of character it takes to keep it. Right now, I'm getting a little frightened of both the television, and internet matrices, so I think I'll plug into natures mosaic for a while, and go for a nice walk in the woods.

If you would like to explore some of the brilliant discussions, theories, and critiques relating to the movies see the Matrix explained. I look forward to further stimulating posts on this subject by the Martian Anthropologist, and one thing I think we would both agree on is the importance of trying to search for the truth, and reality of our own lives. See the The Matrix Exposed II for further insights including technological advances that anticipate a Matrix reality.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tomorrow Again

Tomorrow wake up with a smile.
Tomorrow help a friend.
Tomorrow make peace with an enemy.
Tomorrow hug someone you love.
Tomorrow be good to your body.
Tomorrow stay in the present.
Tomorrow discover something.
Tomorrow stay true to what you are.
Tomorrow is full of infinite possibilities.
Tomorrow is a Rainbow

Have a great Tomorrow,


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Interview with Satan

Seasons Under The Sun's senior reporter Beau recently tracked down that ragged, old soul hunter while he was on vacation in Paris. You may recall how he fanned the flames of social unrest, and violence that spread rampantly across the city not long ago. He made Beau cool his heels for two hours in the lobby of the Hotel Francois before deciding to grant him an interview in his lavishly appointed suite 1313...

You don't usually allow interviews with the press, or especially low level publishers like me do you Beelzebub?

Beelzebub? Beelzebub?? If you call me that again I'll roast your loins in hell fire! I'll be damned to know how some of these insulting nick names have stayed the test of time. I'm the King of Babylon, but you can call me Abaddon.

Abaddon... hmm... not really familiar with that one, but whatever you say Sir Abaddon. Now if you don't mind answering a few questions I'll forge ahead here.

Sure, why not? I've got a nice forging operation down below if you get my gist.

One burning question I know a lot of boomers would like to ask you. Were you responsible for that whole Rolling Stones, Hells Angels,
Altamont concert fiasco back in 69? Don Maclean seemed to implicate you in his song "American Pie".

Is that the best you can come up with? Some misguided, grungy, music event? At that time, Mr. Jagger came close to signing one of my no release contracts, so I almost paid him a visit, but he was just a dabbler in the black arts back then. He tried hard to ingratiate himself to me with that song "Sympathy for the Devil". It was kind of catchy I guess, but I far prefer the music in "Dante's Inferno". Actually, I sent a lesser minion there to stir things up, and shake the cage of all those free love hippies who seemed to think that nothing could go awry in the city of love. I still have to talk to those bikers about copyright infringement though. You can't use the word Hell just because you start a club, or some such nonsense!

Wasn't it kind of a petty event to mess with if you were so busy with wars and things?

I should blast you with brimstone breath you plebeian. I already told you I sent a minion, and I barely gave it my stamp of approval anyway.

Well I do have some more important questions for you Abaddon. In your opinion are we heading for the end of the World like the Bible says?

At least you're in the ball park with that one. I am hanging around this earthly plane a little more often right now because you could easily convince people that the end of the world is at nigh with all of this confusion. It's like a self fulfilling prophecy, so if I stick around and stir things up a bit mankind might just finish off the planet anyway without any help from Bible prophecies. I just make my presence known, do a few interviews, and eventually get a few more to sign on. Marketing is a powerful weapon you know, just ask Donald Trump.

That sounds pretty grandiose, but I am in no position to argue. I've heard some interesting theories floating around about the present U.S. Administration. Is someone in there really the Antichrist?

You're cutting it awfully close with that one Bozo, or Beau is it? You know as well as I do that there will be many false prophets, and besides any real Antichrist will have a lot more flair, and charisma than those boring, Texas oil barons. Don't you think I might assume that role myself?

I suppose you might have the qualifications. Do you have any other travel plans after Paris?

Events are kind of taking care of themselves in Iraq right now. North Korea looks interesting, and I hear the weather's good, but the food stinks. I think they might need a little pitch fork prodding to keep on with the whole Nuclear program there.

Exactly how do you get around when you assume earthly form?

Well in this day and age Lear jets are the only way to go. Do you think I'd tolerate that infernal airport security, delayed flights, and lousy airline grub? I don't have a lot of time to waste, while I'm laying things to waste so to speak.

One more thing here? Are you stilled ticked off at God for casting you out of heaven all those years ago?

I just knew you were going to ask that one. A few hundred years ago I would have smote thee to death for being so impudent, but to tell you the truth that whole falling out thing with him has led to some wonderful opportunities. Just look, I get to do interviews with geeks like you. Seriously though, since I left the "fold" I've almost maintained equal footing with him. I'm sure he often questions his so called wisdom in giving me the boot, and he's sure got his hands full right now. Anyway your time is up. I've got to finish up here, and get a move on. If you're interested in some lifestyle enhancement products I've got a nice contract here for you to sign before I leave.

Uh... no thanks. Well I did have a few more questions here Beelze... oops I mean Abaddon, but I can see you're a busy fellow. Is there any where you could be reached for a follow up story?

Just sign the contract, and you'll get all the stories you need.

Like I said, no thanks.

Alright then I'm off. You might want to stop by room 666 for a few delicacies if you have the time Beau.

Well actually I've got to take one of those airline flights you were referring to earlier. Thanks for the interview I guess?

As Beau finished speaking, the room instantly filled with thick, acrid smoke, and as it slowly waned he realized there was no else in the room. The slippery Devil was up to his old tricks again. Beau took the elevator to the lobby without stopping on the sixth floor, and he didn't look back.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Nothing Post

The problem I'm having here is somewhat pathetic, and embarassing, and no I'm not trying to mimic the old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George try to hawk a TV show pilot for "A show about nothing". The problem is that despite all of the amazing things going on around me, and in the world right now I'm unable to follow through on any type of inspiration or spark to complete, and publish a post to this darn blog... Read On!

Now I can find any number of selfish excuses why this is the case (taking antibiotics, stubborn infection, working too hard, getting ticked off), but the simple answer may be that I have hit the first wall that separates the established bloggers from the also rans in the internet writing world. My initial enthusiam has slammed hard into the fist of DO YOU REALLY WANT TO WRITE WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL?, or is this just a whimsical little hobby that you will soon bypass for some beer, pretzels, and a good TV show, or something else that doesn't challenge the "stuff you're made of", as I believe writing conscientously does. Yes, this is a post about nothing, the nothing that is presently between my ears. It would be great to hear from others who have encountered writer's block in any of its tawdry forms, and overcome it. They may be able to inspire the rest of us still mired in the swamp of tired prose, weak analogies, dangling participles, poor sentence constructs, and generally uninspired writing. THE BLOG MUST GO ON!