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Interweb - Lint trap of the 21st century

Should we start prepping ourselves for fuzzy culture?
Bruce Sterling featured David Armano's presentation in his blog.
Dig it.

Not sure how much of a send up this is on Chris Anderson's Long Tail theory, but it fits in so well to the way that I've been thinking about indie media production and my extremely fuzzy role in that process.

Like a lot of people who get into media production, I had this very well defined idea of what I was going to be.
"I'm going to be a film director."
Nice little well defined box that I could carry all my dreams/ambitions in to show off to my family and friends.

Which would be fine if I wanted to interface with the old system.

But as you stroll further down the tail to the fuzzier (and much more interesting) end, you find that the box melts in your hands, and all your preconceived notions of what you will be starts mixing with all these niche roles.

Suddenly you realize that if you want to produce media (films/books/music/games/etc.) in a completely new way, you are going to have to become a walking profession cloud.
Writer, director, producer, photographer, web designer, marketer...

I have the feeling that my business card will be one giant blur.


Smore sweet treats

George A. Romero made this grandaddy of flesh eating shamblin' goodness.

Delicious AV sweets...

What sweet little ghouls and goblins.
Here are some public domain goodies to put in your bags.
Vincent Price in an Italian adaptation of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend.
Mind the fish hooks and razor blades...

Spook Country...

I'll do myself a favor by poking some holes in my high-falutin' Halloween rant.
I also like dressing up like a fool, scaring the crap out of the neighborhood kids, and eating candy till I'm sick.
So there.

Ghost pic courtesy of Salendron under a CC license.

All hail the Great Pumpkin!

Why is Halloween is such a psychic touchstone for me?
At least for me, this holiday seems to be the most genuine expression of the human condition.

While other holidays try to gloss over the horror that most people deal with on a daily basis, Halloween seems to be a slight tip of the hat to the universal equalizer.

In a world filled with genocide, cancer, environmental meltdown, etc., it's nice to have one day where we can publicly acknowledge the one thing that all humans share. For a day we can give in to the deeper/darker side of ourselves. For a day we can surrender to our existential "war on terror".

Pumpkin pic courtesy of Fabbio under a Creative Commons license.


Message for Comrade Kelly...

It's like Battleship Potempkin meets Singin' in the Rain.

Who watches the watchmen?

Just found this interesting documentary by Henry Porter on the use of CCTV in Britain and the rise of a surveillance state in response to the "war on some terror".
As a film maker, 21st century video voyeur, and armchair civil libertarian this subject fascinates me.
The idea that we'll be safer if we allow governments, corporations, and now individuals to monitor everyone else certainly sets off alarms in people concerned with personal privacy.
Is there a balance to this Orwellian idea of a creepy Big Brother?
Can it work in the opposite direction?
Do citizens have the power to turn their own electronic eyes and ears back on those "guardians of our best interests"?
I'll try to find some answers to these questions in the near future and post them here.

Brian De Palma bites back

Amazing to see a major Hollywood player like De Palma butting heads with his studio heads in public over his film "Redacted".
This one clip raises issues of censorship, free speech, and the problems of applying fair use in film making.
This debate is long over due. Maybe having some heavy hitters weighing in on the subject will shake things up.
Cross your fingers.


Fear and Loathing in the Heart of Darkness

I just finished this horrific article in the NYT about the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Congo.

It's hard enough for me to understand what motivates an individual to commit acts of sexual violence.
How do you come up with an answer for what would motivate groups to do something like this? 130+ years of conflict, exploitation, environmental destruction, and political conflict certainly have contributed to this social pathology. But is this there something else?

Unfortunately it seems that humans have used rape as a weapon of war for as long as we have been human.

This is one of those things that makes me wish for the giant meteorite.
Time for someone to hit the universal reset button.


How do you define mercenary?

Here's how Wikipedia defines it.

Has anyone else noticed this extreme bleedover from the cyberpunk of the 80s and 90s to the scary news headlines of the present??

He was a perpetual outsider, a rogue factor adrift on the secret seas of intercorpo- rate politics. No company man would have been capable of taking the initiatives Turner was required to take in the course of an extraction. No company man was capable of Turner's professionally casual ability to realign his loyalties to fit a change in employers. Or, perhaps, of his unyielding commit- ment once a contract had been agreed upon. He had drifted into security work in his late teens, `when the grim doldrums of the postwar economy were giving way to the impetus of new technologies. He had done well in security, considering his general lack of ambition. He had a ropy, muscular poise that impressed his employer's clients, and he was bright, very bright. He wore clothes well. He had a way with technology.

Count Zero by William Gibson

I wonder how many Blackwater personnel fit this description?


Talk about psychic warfare...

This has been around for a bit, but I thought it was interesting when thinking about the psyop stuff brought up in Jon Ronson's documentary.
While encouraging prisoners in this sort of display is interesting and relatively harmless, I wonder what the folks in charge of Gitmo thought when they watched this for the first time.
I really like Chris Nakashima-Brown's post about this same clip. This seems to be something that was ripped right out of one of his stories.
I've always thought that this kind of stuff would be the next tool in the "War on Some Terror".
Create a better memetic WMD.
Who has time to make an IED when you have to win that Macarena contest?
Get the enemy to plug into the pop cultural group mind.
Move your ass and your mind will follow...
Or is it the other way around?


I knew you were going to say that...

Getting warmer on the psychic warfare search...
I definitely see... wires?? And the name Alex or Alexander keeps coming up.
Does that mean anything to you?

Photo courtesy of sharprichard under a creative commons license.

Getting face'd

I'm making another venture into the social network world with a facebook page.
I have a bunch of mixed feelings about this.
It's great connecting with all of these people that I've met in the past few years.
But I can't help wishing for the days when I was just a ghost in the machine.
Part of me wants to just remain a "Whatever happend to..."
Design is fairly clean and the apps aren't too obnoxious.
We'll see.

Better this than myspace.
Remember web design in 1994?
It's like taking this horrific journey back in time and then getting stranded there.
Then you become your own grandpa.

Freestylin' with Punkin...

Just finshed watching David Choe train hop, hitch, float, and gently con his way across the United States in this amazing and disturbingly sweet web documentary.
You see this outlaw artist in the middle of a very Gummo landscape at times.
Definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended.
But, for every venture into near Springeresque territory, their are these little poignant moments of dark beauty.
He seems to sum it up all so well at the end of his journey when he says "The good, the bad, and the ugly... It's all America."


80 thousand volts of rock to the brain!!!

Electric Dragon 80000V
How do I describe this?
Sex Pistols meets Power Rangers?
Amazing visuals with a visceral hypernoise rock punch.
Definitely need to hunt down some more Sogo Ishii flicks.

Spoonbenders unite!!!

So not to lose this psychic warfare momentum, but I'm having some trouble tracking down any great sources for evidence that other governments engaged in this sort of research.
Apart from just pop culture hearsay about Russian psychic weapons, Nazi occult rituals, etc., the evidence seems to be a bit more sparse.
If anyone comes across any good books and/or movies dealing with these subjects, let me know.

Image courtesy of iguana_nirvana14 under a creative commons license.


Be all that you can be!

Crazy Rulers of the World (1/3) - The Men Who Stare at Goats
Jon Ronson's documentary Channel 4 documentary on high weirdness in the U.S. military.

How does this blow my mind? Let me count the ways...
1, 3, 4??
Let's say at least 7. Nice round number.

While I've read and heard about the government's dabbling in the paranormal, this weird little "what if" branch of history is completely new to me.
I'm still trying to wrap my grey matter around this.

I haven't done any more research beyond stumbling upon this vid on a site devoted to collecting interesting videos and documentaries online (Good call T!), so the jury is still out in my mind.

I'll probably do a number of posts on this theme, but here are just a few points that I'd like to explore:

-Given how much of world politics is tied with religous belief, is it that unbelievable that some leaders would carry their own wacked out ideas about the nature of reality into their day jobs?
-How common is this in other parts of the world? It seems Russia dabbled in similar operations during the cold war. Who else had their own Miss Cleo on the payroll?
-Probably the most sobering intellectual snack that I'm still chewing on is how much Vietnam really screwed us up. I don't mean just the physical number of dead, but the loss of that war is like this super sharp splinter that has been driven into the American psyche. 30 years later, and we're still digging at that sucker. What will my kids think of this new improved "war on some terror" 30 years from now?

Where did I put those tweezers?



How do you write an obituary in E-Prime?
Let's see.
It appears that the metamagician and reality tunnel demolitions expert who occupied the memespace labeled by many as Robert Anton Wilson
has experienced what some domesticated primates would describe as the cessation of all biological processes at around 4:50 AM January 11th (using local temporal coordinates).
All Hail Eris!


Look who came crawling back...

Originally uploaded by NC Sylvis Photos.
New year.
New semester.
New camera.
New excuses for not blogging.

I swear I'll be better this time.
This time it'll be different.
You'll see.
It'll all be like brand new.
Just trust me.