Base-Ten, in 3D

"In itself the piano cannot seduce by virtue of its sound alone. The listener can be seduce by the lovely sound of, for example, a violin or an oboe. The piano, on the other hand, is a neutral instrument, and the art of playing it involves a sleight of hand. It is possible to create the illusion of a legato on the piano although, in the physical sense, it is impossible. But is possible to create the illusion of sustained sound similar to that of a string instrument. The most important part of piano-playing is the symphonic element. The music can only be of interest if the differenstrands of the polyphonic texture are played so distinctly that they can all be heard and create a three-dimensional effect--just as in painting, where something is moved into the foreground and something else into the background, making one appear closer to the viewer than the other, although the painting is flat and one-dimensional.


In addition my father communicated something to me that I only found expressed in words when I was an adult--in a book about Franz Liszt in Weimar. It describes how he explained to a pupil that the piano should not be play with two hands or as two units. Either you play with a unit consisting of two hands, or with ten units in which each finger is independent. This is a very important piece of advice. I was really pleased to read that, because I recognized once again what my father had taught me without putting it into words. This is the only way to tackle Bach. One might well imagine a nocturne by Chopin with the melody in the right hand and the accompaniment in the left, without any polyphony. But Bach's keyboard works definitely call for ten fingers that are independent of one another. And if they are, they can be brought together to create a unit."

-Daniel Barenboim, Notes to "The Well-Tempered Clavier Bk. 2"


Entering the Marketplace

Tomorrow morning I'll be out at the Portland Saturday Farmer's Market, on the south park blocks downtown. I'll be trying to sling some merchandise, which I haven't tried to do since living in New York. Didn't work too well in the big city, because people are way too good at ignoring people. Even (and especially) when you're trying to give stuff away for free!

But I'll have a bunch of stuff in PDX this time, where people can't help but hand you cash for fine-crafted printed goods, so come on down and find me. I'll have the full set of screenprinted "Found Note" prints ("Invasive Species" pictured lo-fi to the right), a new two-color print, "Compressor" (awesome!), as well as the old Brute Press swag: zines and books. If you've wanted a copy of the two Welcome to the Interdome zines I made, now is your chance.

I've really been digging me some screenprinting. Complete, quality printing, in my own basement. If had a screen fine enough to handle 12pt. text, I would totally print an entire book using it. Well, maybe. But what I totally am printing are a series of awesome stuff I've found, from some old pen & ink drawings of mine, to some re-purposed engineering diagrams, and some scans from a 1918 German surgery text (this are especially gnarly). You'll see me with more of these over the coming weeks, as I scrape enough cash together for the up-to-8-color prints I'm envisioning. I really do like screenprinting. I'll also be experimenting with some broadsheets and cut-ups of blog material, and other stuff. None of these designs have really come together quite yet, but I'm still excited for the future.

But tomorrow, I'll also have copies of Open-Faced Mushroom Blastocyst, which will be free! Yes! A book for free! Just ask!

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled rants, and miscellany. All hype-machining now back to Twitter.


The Internet vs. the Juridico-Discursive

Hello, Interdomers!

Dig this:

A fast-growing FBI data-mining system billed as a tool for hunting terrorists is being used in hacker and domestic criminal investigations, and now contains tens of thousands of records from private corporate databases, including car-rental companies, large hotel chains and at least one national department store, declassified documents obtained by Wired.com show.

Headquartered in Crystal City, Virginia, just outside Washington, the FBI’s National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) maintains a hodgepodge of data sets packed with more than 1.5 billion government and private-sector records about citizens and foreigners, the documents show, bringing the government closer than ever to implementing the “Total Information Awareness” system first dreamed up by the Pentagon in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Such a system, if successful, would correlate data from scores of different sources to automatically identify terrorists and other threats before they could strike. The FBI is seeking to quadruple the known staff of the program.

We all know the massive capacities of real-time (read: cyber-time) data-mining, and of course, the shocking, just shocking dangers of having all our personal info collected on the web. (Holy crap, I plugged a device by which I interact with the world into a public world-wide network, and now they know stuff about me!)

But of course, this is even more scary than common sense, because, it's like the FBI and the gov'ment, man. TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS. Like, J Edgar Hoover lookin' at you with his third eye. The conspiracy is real.

If you actually read the article, what is interesting is the records they have gotten linked into this paranoia-web. Sure, its hotel records, rental cars, credit cards, drivers licenses, helicopter licenses, and all the trackbacks to YOUR blogposts. But it's not ALL of these things, only particular records matching certain "lists", donated by certain companies and chains of companies. So the information is far from total.

But, it is collected by the government, and most notably, the FBI. Wikimedia Commons sure generates a lot of interest, but you can't beat the FBI when it comes to creating Web 2.0 "contributors". I mean, they are the FBI. They have some stronger arguments than "community" for getting people to take part.

One reaction to this is that the government should not be collecting this information. But that seems a bit naive, since cell phone companies, search engines, and even employers do plenty of data mining already, for whatever particular ends they might have.

I respect the efforts of privacy enthusiasts, who are fighting the good fight to lockdown their browsers, cell phones, license plates, passports, grocery lists, and orifices against data mining. But of course, this is a losing fight, not to mention way too difficult for the average user to implement effectively. (Granted, that even the smallest effort often has a great effect.)

It seems the right, though most difficult way to go would be to encourage all records to be accessible, to everyone. If more and more records become mineable, then it stands to reason that the only power to these records is for organizations who have exclusive access. The FBI has access to records the average person does not. Therefore, these "secret" files become powerful. But if you could Google someone's hotel records, then it would not be as useful.

We like to be the one's to hold the power over our own lives, but more and more this power is being ceded to other organizations. My cell phone company probably knows better where I've been this week than I do. To get this power back, perhaps I should give the information to everyone.

The impetus to personal secrecy, i.e. individual power over personal information, is often taken defensively. "They can't prove I ____" is the rationale. It is the freedom not to testify against oneself about any one of a number of informational things: where you were and when, what you bought, whom you spoke to, what you ate, how fast you went. This is to react against a juridico-discursive combine of information that, according to this mindset, is trying to "catch you act of X".

Ah yes, all that X you do, and have done, and will do again. We certainly don't want that to get out.

However, there are two types of X. There is the first, which I will analogize to "inhaling", and the second, which I will analogize to "operating a sweatshop". The distinction is not between morally right and wrong, or even morally indistinct and wrong. The distinction is between one of embarrassment, and one of prosecution.

Of course, many things we might be embarrassed about once had criminal charges attached. But there is a general social liberalization occurring, which I think is quite related to the technological changes also occurring in society. Having a well-known person's naked crotch represented on the cover of a nationally distributed print magazine is a recent event in our society. But what is the motivation for this? Why not print it? In an era when that picture, and worse, is going to be readily available on the internet, what is the impetus to keep it private? And what, is the impetus to be embarrassed by it? It was a shock when Clinton admitted to smoking but not inhaling marijuana, but now our current president has admitted to sniffing cocaine. Did he admit that, or was that a rumor? I don't remember, nor does it really matter to me. The private lives of public people are now public, and the embarrassment is wearing off. Even private citizens are becoming public people with surprising acceleration and regularity, and taking their private lives with them. Hell, as long as you're not as bad as the guests on Maury, what do you really have to worry about?

So the impetus to defense against the X that might embarrass you is fading. What about the X that might get you put away for a long time? Well, the truth is that these people have been obscuring their identities way before the Internet. If you are going to commit a crime, you wear a mask, don't take your ID, switch your license plates, or use a fake name, or start up a botnet. All of which are readily available, if you are the sort of person to go looking for them.

This is not a way of saying, "if you are innocent, you have nothing to hide." This is a way of saying, "if you are guilty, you are already going to be hiding." There is a difference between a national, all-inclusive identity database, and a listing of datapoints to imply where you were last night. To force you to log your legal identity when leaving or entering the country is a means of control, but to liberate your travel plans a way to free yourself from control. You are joining the millions upon millions who are already liberating their data-lives, by allowing it to join the firehose of cultural data. Your travel plans are not legally identifiable necessarily, nor linked to an individual, juridico-discursive person. The individuality of public records is exactly what criminals take advantage of with spoofed IDs. By stealing a credit card number, they are claiming they are a specific person with a good line of credit. By faking an ID, they are claiming to be a legal person, with a clean record. By liberalizing your personal records, rather than allowing them to be categorized to your individual, juridico-discursive entity, you are creating multiple personalities doing all kinds of things. By hiding your records in your house, you are creating a cache of personality just ready to be stolen.

Imagine if the millions upon millions of credit card holders made their information publicly available. Not just their address and numbers, but their purchase history, their credit history, and everything. There would be flood of people trying to use other people's information. But with a little data integration, how hard would it be to determine valid purchases? Credit cards already do this, and that is why your security is guaranteed. With even more information available, the monitoring would only get better. What is someone going to do, buy the same things you buy at relatively similar frequency? Then the duplicates would be noticed. In the millions, everything balances out.

The key to destroying the juridico-discursive personality is to reduce the singularity of identity, and control. If only the government collects and accesses the data, you won't know your own patterns, and you could be taken advantage of if your identity is compromised. Similarly, the government could use this information to persecute you. But if a wealth of information is provided on the internet, free for use, even your timeline will be uncompromisable, because your identity will only equal the accumulation of data.

Adam eats vegetarian
Adam goes to Seattle every so often
Adam works at X address
Adam walks mostly but drives to work
Adam ate at these restaurants
Adam made these phone calls

You search by my name, and you get a picture of a personality. Maybe you take out the other Adam's who eat at McDonalds, and where they work, and you narrow it down. Maybe you call yourself Adam, and do a bunch of things I would never do, but this would eventually be proved out of the sequence. Nothing identifies me specifically by number, or any other characteristic. Rather than my bank asking my security questions of mother's maiden name, high school location, etc (which, by the way, are also asked of me by at least five other websites... so much for "secret questions") what if it asked me what I ate for lunch, which road I took to work, and what shoes I'm wearing. You collect enough common, freely available datapoints, and you have a undeniable fingerprint of who I am, which only I could answer completely. You could actually verify individuality BETTER with more public information, as long as their is no unique link other than the data I continually enter to the network.

With the Internet, the key is more information, more access, and near-instant access. More access and more information creates cyber-space, an infinity of data sets. More access and near-instant access creates cyber-time, an infinity of sample points. With an infinite amount of data sets and sample points, you can accomplish almost anything. The problem of spanning dimensions and planes is reduced to processing singularities. It is like swimming in an infinitely increasing sea. it matters less where you are going, than what you are doing while you get there.

Here's a math exercise. Imagine I sign up for a Future Card, a purchasing credit card. I don't give any personal information, only a pseudonym, Interdome. I have a $10 credit automatically, and every time I pay it off with a Worker Credit transfer (i.e. Internet Cash, totally anonymous, of course) my credit increases 50%, SO LONG AS I enter a distinct tagged data point using my pseudonym into Personality-Web, a publicly accessible database. Also, I must have at least ten data points entered already. The card can be extended via this method up to a limit of, I don't know, $10,000. Also, each purchase requires a new data point at the time of purchase.

By the time your potential loss to Future Card Inc. is $500, there are already thirty distinct data points tied to your user name. (10 initially, 10 complete payments, and 10 purchases, imagining a single purchase maxes out the card before being paid down). There is a requirement to Personality Web that you must have at least ten linear data points all corresponding to particular or relatable tags before a tag is considered "distinct". A tag is like "food choice", "color preference", or "retailer category" in addition to access point IP and time. With 30 data points you already have potentially three lines of identification for the Future Card to identify you by, which could replace name, address, and social security number. Another couple months of use, and the card has even more lines of identification, with perhaps a hundred data points for cross referencing. Want a higher credit rating? Add more data points to the personality web using Interdome as the user name. The more data they can link into personal patterns across tags, the more secure and verifiable Interdome is. Somebody else starts a separate Interdome Personality Web account? Fine. With a little bit of cross referencing, you could isolate different Interdomes by their responses to questions, each adding data points as they do so.

But how hard would it be to invent a personality for a blog-writing, walking, Portland-residing vegetarian? Okay, not that hard. But to keep that up while continuing to feed actual cash micropayments and datapoints into the card to increase the credit line, to make it valuable enough to default on? That would sure take a lot of time--more time required than to go through your neighbor's trash and find 10 real, juridico-discursive identity characteristics and get a fake checking account today. And how many fake identity points could you create before an algorithm recognized a pattern in the fake points, and linked your responses, and found you out? These are real, semantic datapoints, not just random organizations of letters and numbers, which any computer will eventually be able to select in the blink of an eye. You can spoof a password, but can you spoof a diet? How about a consciousness?

But suppose a bunch of dissociative savants create hundreds of personalities, swapping cards in a crime syndicate inventing thousands of fake Personality Web accounts, putting them up and taking them down in rapid succession? All the better. More data, more chances to spot fraud. Why wouldn't these savants leave traces, allowing them to be tracked down? Even clinical dissociative generate all their personalities from the same mind.

But what about massive computers, designed to create random data points at will? They could beam random info to a handheld device, giving you any number of unrelated disposable personalities. Hmm. Possible. Some of the best security relies on large algorithms, generating random numbers, which only another exact algorithm could produce at a specific time. These are very difficult to reverse engineer from the data. If you developed an algorithm to create Personality Web data points, how could a computer determine it is fake personality, as opposed to a real one? And if it all generated, there is no way to target the faker. Well, it would still take a considerable investment of real payments to push the Future Card limit to a point at which the money you spent developing the algorithm is a good criminal investment. And also, it is a lot harder than walking your way into a retailer's computer system and stealing a million credit card numbers and addresses. Plus, most criminals, as it turns out, are not that clever.

Think of it like this: it's an anonymous, pay-as-you-go cell phone, but because the Internet's cyber-time wealth of data points can identify patterns both in the past and the future, credit becomes same as cash. You are going to pay for things tomorrow, just as you paid in the past, so if you can be identified across this continuum, you are the same consumer. Instant credit! In the future, you just won't need a name to do it, because a name is already fake. Buying stuff is what's real.

Anyway, enough with the SF tangent. It's merely an idea, not a justification or a business model. The point is this:

The more we concentrate on reifying our individual, juridico-discursive personalities, the more impetus we create for people to hack their way into our identities, and use their power for their own purposes. The Internet, cyber-space, and cyber-time are made of data points and sets, and the ubiquity of access. Rather than defend notions of privacy that are becoming dangerously obsolete, perhaps we should remake our identities along with the technology. After all, the technology is becoming the primary means of expressing our identities these days.


A Guide to Conservative Wingnuts, i.e., You & Me

I watched this video on Oliveslav's blog.

I've been largely ignoring the major media event known as "the health care debate" because it frankly ignores the shit out of me. Nobody really cares about anything other than defining a position and placing that position in opposition to other positions, and then somehow phrasing the entire table-football game in terms of history. Kind a Boy's-Life-cum-Marxist analysis of media, but every time I flip on the media switch, there it is.

But in this video, there's much more. These people fascinate me. The liberal majority irritate me with their ideology, and the conservative majority annoy me with their antithesis. But these folk really make me stop and think.

Most people know them a bit. They've seen the John Birch Society billboards out west, and they've heard some callers on talk radio. I first met them when I was into globalization protests, and they showed up to counterprotest. If you grew up in the South, they just might be your relations. And here they are again, and what is really golden about this video is that they got them to engage in conversation.

They're not wingnuts, or dingbats, or whatever you want to call them. The crazies are not showing up to protests. The potentially criminally insane live in Montana, or in basement apartments, and you won't see them until they've been arrest for shooting gynecologists or holocaust museum guards. The TPers are not even really related to the conservative ideologues, either. These are not Larouche's people, or scientologists, or even Minutemen. The cult mind, with its beaten defensiveness and willingness to join anything that will give them a reason, is not really at play here. I want to separate these people from all of that nonsense. Look at each of them individually. Regular people who, for whatever reason, decided to show up in DC on a particular day with some crazy signs.

These people are americans. What they are doing here is totally american, and their crazy signs are totally american. Just like you and your political views are american, there's are as well. And if you have five minutes, I'd like you to meet them.

It's not about being a downhome, common sense, stand-up-and-say-what-I-think white person. When I say these people are americans, I'm trying to take any sort of authenticity argument. Yes, yes, "Don't Tread on Me" has a long, proud history, and yes, free speech is a wonderful thing. But I want to draw attention to is their ideas, not anything as nostalgically obtuse as their attitudes, where-with-all, or ugly red-white-and-blue T-shirts. But it is the things they say, not just how they say it. Let's take a critical look. Welcome to the Interdome is proud to bring you another in its series of, "this crazy shit is not so crazy but actually a lot like some normal stuff you probably like if you look at it in the right way" features.

When I first started the video, I wanted to compare them to leftist/anti-globalization protests. You can find some fucking characters at an anti-globalization protest. There's the angry teenager, the guy-just-there-cause-the-cute-girl-is, the overly-aged hippies, the street kids, the black bloc, the "volunteers", the overly ideological. Half the fun of going was to critique the other ideologists (we being of the anarcho-syndicalist persuasion, otherwise known as "the really smart and correct anarchists".) I'll never forget the two kids in the march ahead of us against the IMF in 2002 wearing red T-shirts that said "Mao more than ever". I wouldn't say they were the only two Maoists in the USA, but I would be willing to bet they were the only two in Washington DC that day.

But the Tea Partyers are different. At least the left side of things can memorize a few token facts. They can spit back some instances of water rights totalitarianism, cite human rights abuse at the hands of the School of the Americas, and so on and so forth. This is largely because while the left doesn't have a coherent message or plan, they have real grivances. And this is the tragedy of the left in America. They don't get taken seriously even though they are the only ones to care some really important issues.

The Tea Partyers, on the other hand, don't have any actual facts to complain about, but on coherence of their ideas amd feelings, they are 100% gold. Don't get me wrong, their plan isn't logical, or good, or even rationally described (though actually, when you think about it, "Taking back our country", "Don't tread on me", and "Jesus is Lord" actually make about as much rational sense as "Yes we can").

What the Tea Partyers bring to the table is some specific american grievances. These are grievances that are deployed for all the wrong causes. These are grievances that if carried to the natural extension of what the ideologues are pushing, would bring fascist disaster down upon this continent. These are self-centered, egotistical, emotion-driven grievances, but in this way they are perfectly american. If we want to understand the bizarre people who live in this country, we should pay attention.

I'm going to list and discuss a few key points threading through the Tea Partyers' talk. When they are isolated out of the health care debate, the two-party politics, the ideology, and the general crazy white-folk-ness, we can see there is actually more sense to them than we left-leaners might think. This is the point: they are not crazy, they have just chosen the wrong team. If we could drag these emotions around and connect them to the left's causes, we might actually have coherent politics in america.

1. "Don't Tread on Me"

This is no less than the spirit of america. This is the bill of rights, the declaration of independence, and rock and roll tied all into one. This slogan originated in Revolutionary War times, and has been appropriated by various entities fighting against central authority ever since. If you remember your People's History of the United States, the Rev. War was a battle led by bourgeois merchants who didn't want to pay taxes, and they used the seperatist nationalism of the various states to get the people behind their cause. America has always been a country of people who suffer to be ruled. Nobody likes the government in america, as well they shouldn't, because every time the government claims to help people, it is five years or less away from plunging them right back into dire straits. You can see it all over the stickered bumpers of america. This is not a country that trusts its government. While I would like elected officials to be trustworthy, I feel this sense of distrust is much more worthy of cultivation, because all it takes is a court decision to change who's leading the country. Frankly, I don't trust any of them. I trust myself, and there is no leader on the planet who can represent this trust for me. Of course, this trust can be bought from the people pretty easily if the leaders condescend to some of other points I am going to review. But this is why this sentiment of distrust should be number one. Under no circumstances should individual americans surrender their distrust to any leader, no matter what s/he promises. Because the minute you close your eyes is the minute they will try to steal from you.

2. "Against all Taxes"

From the former, this follows. If we distrust the government, we should automatically distrust them even more when they come asking for our money. This is a capitalist country, and the only thing we value as much as our freedom is our stuff. Of course, like the freedom, it can be pried from our grasp under certain conditions. Under pain of fear for example, which is much easier to affect than trust.
Hatred of taxes is not necessarily an unhealthy emotion, either. But here is the important point, which for some reason throughout the debate, democrats refuse to call the republicans out on: it costs money to do stuff. If you want a government of any kind, you're going to have to pay for it, and it isn't a pay-as-you-go plan.
The republicans are great at shifting the money around, telling YOU that you are paying more money than THEM, and the democrats chase them around, trying to argue back that everyone is paying a fair price, and those who pay more deserve to do so. Since the republicans have taken the tact that they are on the side of "everybody paying less", this sort of generalization appeals to many people, even if it is a lie. "Everybody pays fair" just can't compete, because of #1. We already know the leaders are lying scum bags, so if they want me to pay, it must be more than I should. A car dealer is better off trying to tell you that you are stealing the car at that price, rather than claiming a deal is fair. You already know they are ripping you off, so you think maybe the deal could be fair if they claim to be giving it to you at a loss.
Because the dems have already decided to compromise away the single-payer plan, they are now in the position of trying to argue that its a fair deal. They should be whining about how their going to feed their ten kids if they give away health care at this price. Hey, they chose a capitalist system, they have to play the salesperson game too.
Meanwhile, I wouldn't dissuade anyone from money protectionism. Capitalism separates people from their value enough as it is, and then it wants a cut of their wages. Let the people keep their wages, and collectivize the industry. Start with the bullshit finance industry. Where are my AIG shares? I'd certainly prefer that to a tax bill. Worth zero is better than owing.

3. "The, uh... Racism thing."

What exactly is the deal with this? Why is it so fucking hard to fix race relations in this country? Why do white people mistrust black people, dislike immigrants, and fear islam? Why do immigrants continue to break the law to work here? Why do black people distrust every other race? Why do islamic people burn our flags? Is it all just "BAT-SHIT CRAZY"? No, it's not. Well, killing people is bat-shit crazy, but that's merely just the natural extension of a simple problem. (Humans are pretty predictable when it comes to solving their problems. If a problem is another human, eventually some shithead is going to try and eliminate the problem, and if they need to be crazy to do so, someone will figure out how to get them there.) The rest of it, the racism we see in Time magazine special reports, is simple.
I really hate to break it all down to class war. I really wish there was another way. I really wish I could think of another, less contentious way to describe why poorer people of all different colors, races, and creeds decide to hate each other over the course of history, and why rich people of all different colors, races, and creeds seem to get rich off it. I wish I could describe as something other than capitalist thugs, the leaders who promote racism and bigotry through doing nothing, or simple line-drawing, or wide-open-mouthed hatred. But I can't.
Human beings have evolved to hate, and to be violent. There is nothing we can do about this. But the people who take the tillers of our psyches and steer them into broadsiding naval battles are simply pieces of shit who can profit by doing what they do, even if they say they are doing something else. You can say you are fighting a just cause, but you are leading humans out to kill and be killed by other humans. You can sell it as product, or reveal it as fear, but it still results in the same thing.
So when the birthers call Obama an islamist, or whatever they might call him behind closed doors, rather than simply contradicting them, maybe we should be telling them who they should really fear. Who is really invading the fabric of their lives? Who is threatening their children? Not terrorists. Not immigrants. It is the oldest trick in the capitalist book, to play the races and ethnicities off of each other. No surer way to break a strike.
So should we "stand up to hate"? No. We should stand up to misguided hate, and insane theories. We should look at who is really hurting us, and who can help us. People are actually pretty good at figuring this out, if you can unplug them from Fox News' Hate-o-vision for half an hour. The Birther movement probably benefits nothing quite so much as Rupert Murdoch's net worth.

4. "Jesus is Lord."

All right. There are two aspects to this one. Aspect the first: religion in general. Religion is not bad, in and of itself. Like hate, humans seem to be programmed to believe, whether they are believing in Jesus, Buddha, the holiness of the peyote cactus, Alien conspiracy, Jello Biafra, Insane Clown Posse, or whatever other clown might have bought a megaphone and some poster paint. Again, if their beliefs are pointing them towards fighting their real enemies, and not cowering in guilt of a spaghetti monster's reaction to their genitals, then may Robert Anton Wilson bless 'em.
Aspect the second: protestantism. Not evangelicalism, which is really just an extension of the former. This "personal savior" nonsense is a perfect example of the gutter of belief. There is no better way to convince someone to be a guilty, neurotic, wreck of a human, ready to carry a gun and blast away at human beings, than to tell them there is only one thing in the world worthy enough to free them of everything they have fucked up, and if you pay this money and do what I say, I'll let you touch it. What a scam.
The bad part is, like most scams, it works. You reveal this fact to some believer, and they'll just try to convert you. Protestantism, especially american protestantism, is so good at what it does that it has these supporters of democracy, these "don't tread on me" citizens of the free world, carrying around signs proclaiming the dominion of their invisible king.
So to bad mouth belief itself is obviously the wrong solution. Your atheist badge, your joking derision, and your in-your-face controversy only reinforces their feedback loop. If you really want to deconvert, you better bring them around to seeing who is really helping and hurting them. Again, if you kick the plug for five minutes, its not so hard. If you unplug for a few hours, you could even do it without resorting to protestant guilt and ecumenical morality too. Yes, Beyond Good and Evil isn't the easiest parable out there, but it isn't the hardest either.

5. "Being armed in public is my right, which I will freely exercise."

Sorry liberal folks. They're actually right on this one.
No, actually: yes. They are. I don't think armed church services are the way of the future, but the second amendment is a cornerstone of the bill of rights. It's part of this country, and it will be all the way to the end. There is really no point in fighting it. Instead, I would suggest going after the consequences of violence from other angles.
How about this--no more gun control, if the war on drugs ceases. Deal? Deal. Intoxication and firearms are two historical elements of american culture. Cold dead fingers, and all that. Of course, you can generate a lot more government funding by fighting these two objects than by actually going after the problems of addiction and violent crime. But then, who asked me anyway?

6. "USA! USA! USA!"

This sort of thing curdles my stomach. I can't stand flag waving, chanting, sloganizing of "god, people, country", national pride, pledges of allegiance, marching, saluting. None of it. I hated it when I was in elementary school, but I went along with it. After I watched Triumph of the Will, I was done. It was clear to me that the flag you were waving didn't matter. It was all about conformity.
Which is why it always confused me that the same people who would shout "don't tread on me" would wave an american flag. It is understandable though. People like conformity. They like uniformity, and the security of opinion it brings. Even hardcore punks have uniforms.
Some of this you have to throw up to human nature. You are not going to get people to stop nodding their heads--but you might be able to change what they are nodding their heads about. Not everyone is going to like basement punk shows, either. There is always going to be a mainstream, and there will always be rebellion to it, whatever it is. Culture is just too big for it to be anything otherwise.
The problem with this nationalist mainstream is that it is a giant security blanket for a whole nationful of issues. When anything is threatened, real or perceived, people go back to what they know. If everyone else around is chanting, it works even better. If there is a leader on stage telling you are correct and a better person for chanting it, it works best.
But people don't actually like the flag itself. They like their freedom, their guns, their beer, their god, and their money. If you draw these away from the flag, then they'll leave the flag behind.
The toughest part is the military culture. This is ingrained from the beginning, and respect for the flag is respect for work. I've always wondered why there are so few jobs that engender such dedication to the work. I suppose a flag makes it easy. The threat of death is another way of producing it.
If only most people felt such a tie to their jobs, or their activities, or their families, rather than a decorated scrap of cloth. Some punks feel that way about the punk scene, but not most of them.
The key though, is that if you really talk to any person who considers him/herself dedicated to something, you will realize they don't care at all about the flag, or the badge, or the uniform, though that may be all they talk about. What they care about is much more specific. It's just the only way they were ever taught to look at it was through this flag-washed lens.

7. "All the other stuff that's actually wrong."

Ignorance about history
Bourgeois mentality
Capitalist desires
Religious Intolerance
White Pride (explicit or implicit)

Clearly there is a lot here not to like. That guy in the video preaching about abortion makes me sick. I'd like to see a bicycle team of feminists on solid-steel tandem bikes run over his neck. And other things for other individuals, on a case by case basis.
I guess the reason I'm writing this is to not dispatch it all as crazy, but to see the reasons behind it. I don't doubt that there is nothing anyone could do to help that douchebag with a megaphone see the error of his ways. But, that doesn't mean he wasn't scared, intimidated, seduced, manipulated, bargained, and rewarded into thinking what he thinks by someone who could benefit from it. Crazy people don't just grow up in the middle of nowhere, and then run screaming towards the cities with weapons in hand. There is a system to it all, and this ranges from the tallest super-structure to the smallest psychosexual feedback loop sparking in the base of the skull. While we have to fight against these people, we should remember this. This is why I put "don't tread on me" first. This is the most basic ethical principle I've heard. Keep your laws and believes off my body, out of my head, out of my pants, out of my bank account, out of my vegetable garden, and off my lawn. Back the fuck off. Something we all can agree on, while we fight about the other stuff.

8. "Ignorance."

The most meaningful part of the video was during the discussion about czars. One woman said she had "always voted republican, but was beginning to rethink her support of either party." Well said. These people are not crazy, they are just plugged into the wrong feeds. (Okay, they could use some spelling practice.) I wanted to unplug every damn Obama supporter over the last two years as well. They keep telling me he's going to change things, spitting idealism like foam from a rabid dog's jaw. Yeah right. He looks more and more like a politician every day. He did before too, if you weren't hypnotized by a Shepard Fairey poster. But if you line up the facts for people, if you cut through the media bullshit reinforcing your six-second attention span by repeating the same shit every seven seconds, if you remove the labels (R) and (D), if you drop the holy ghost guilt trip, take down the american flag as big as an RV, and stop chanting for a damn minute, people can, surprisingly enough, put a lot of it together for themselves. Not all of it, but enough to stop acting all crazy. They can put the gun down for a minute, and say, "wait, I'm fighting for who?" Then maybe they can say, "you know, I would accomplish a lot more paying union dues than buying a wide screen TV and a membership to the country club. Maybe I'll even not give money to a candidate this year. Maybe I won't vote, until there is someone I can actually trust. Maybe I'll vote for myself." Maybe. This is my campaign slogan for myself: "Just, maybe..."

I know, it must often sound like I'm willing to lambast liberals and defend conservatives. This is mostly because I think liberals need the most critiquing, because unfortunately, the conservatives idiocy seems to speak for itself. But really, I hate both, at the same time as I can't help but love 'em. I hate all humans, but they're also the only species I've got. Despite the ways that the world keeps getting it wrong, and keeps fucking each other over for their own benefit, it all just seems to get simpler and simpler. The problem is obvious, but fixing it would require everyone to take a long hard look at themselves, and see they're not so different from everyone else. Not very likely, but still, there it is in front of us. As crazy as we all are, the funny thing is that we're all still humans. Big, naked, upright apes, with some pretty f'ed emotions, but with some cool tools.

Us anarcho-syndicalists are just much smarter humans.


More about the Brute Press, which you care about

I made a major style change to Brute Press, eliminating the occasionally irritating formatting, improving the font (thank you, serifs), and getting rid of the unneeded and excessive categories and organizational modes.

If that isn't a good enough reason to head right over there and check out some FREE LITERATURE, then how about


"As the Man Said" is a fun piece about some kids. It's hot off rejection at a small, online lit mag, whose editor told me, "What didn't work is that, for me at any rate, there wasn't enough of a story here." How's that for praise? I could describe it more, but it's short and I'd give away the awesome part, which of course, is that there is no story in the story. Yep. A lot of works about nothing, apparently.

"On Fire" was born from a need to write a story about cars. This one was rejected from a lit mag too, but without any awesome criticism to totally make me see the error in writing stories about nothing. This means, through the obvious inverse, that something definitely happens in this story.

Well, there you have it. Brute Press: stuff happens, and is now 50% easier to read.

Day of the Eggplantacle

Was out walking and spotted this crazy "Day of the Tentacle" eggplant growing in a sidewalk garden. I don't know the variety, but the other eggplants looked fairly not mutated and non-evil. Hopefully one of them will save the world.

Sorry the picture isn't terribly clear; it was cloudy and getting dark. I'll try and walk by in a week or so and see what it looks like as it gets bigger.

Click on the photo for a bigger view.


I'm not one to bust out a lot of the "I saw them when" stories, but I'm really glad to see that Battles is continuing to grow and evolve.

Here's David Byrne's thoughts on the band, when he saw them recently. Pretty apt, I suppose.

But now for my story: this band played a show at Gardner Lounge, at the small four-year school in the midwest I attended. It was the basement of a dorm I lived in--not the trashiest, drug-infest dorm on campus (I lived in that one too), but close to it. The rugs in the lounge were sticky and black with beer and ash, and there was always someone sleeping or copulating in it, yes in the beer and ash... I'm sure you know the sort of place. It was actually a great show space though, with a built in riser-sort of platform at one end, absolutely dark, and big enough to either have a close show of 15-20, or fit as many as 200. Some bands played there that have since gone on to be famous (I think Smashing Pumpkins was the one everyone talked about), and of course some bands that were never heard from again played there. I remember hearing a few members of well-known indie acts yelling at the concerts committee head, "this place is disgusting, we will never play here again, what is wrong with you people," etc. I think my best memory of the lounge was a performance of some friend's hardcore band, which devolved into inebriated wrestling in the pit. Not moshing, crowd surfing, whatever, but wrestling. With guitars.

[45 min break]

I was trying to find a picture of the lounge, but I couldn't. I put out a call to knowing parties, hopefully I'll have one soon.

So anyway, Battles played there, back when they only had two EPs to their name. It was pretty awesome. This was one of only two shows I've ever been to, after which I was inspired to buy a CD from the merch booth. It was the B EP, which I bought per the guitarist's recommendation. At the time I was listening to a lot of Tortoise, and this hit me perfectly.

The cool part of the story is actually not my story, but my girlfriend-at-the-time's. She bartered doing the band's laundry for a free T-shirt. I helped. It was smelly. The T-shirt she got featured a picture of a hot dog "ejaculating" a bunch of mustard to spell "Battles". I think the band then crashed at some of my friends' house, where they played final fantasy, or Legends of Gaia, or something like that. That might have been another band, though.

Here are a couple more videos. These are songs (though not performances) from the era they played Gardner. If you don't know Battles, hang in there, when the songs break out is really where they turn awesome:

I like the second one especially, because the view is much like what I remember from the show.


The Plot Against Magic and Curses

I thought this essay was going to go into The Brutalitarian, but lo and behold, here it is on Welcome to the Interdome. Who knows why.

And once again I was on the Internet and reading the article in N+1, “The Calculating Critic” and once again, we return to the subject of plot. They always want more plot—not N+1 in particular, but these readers out there, given voice by the critics and the editors. You want it easier, more fun, smaller, shorter, flatter and more ergonomical, easy to grasp. Because this is what plot is, when it comes down to it. Plot is not the story, not the characters, not the language, not the voice—plot is the part that can be described easily, summed up, abstracted, and repeated as a mandra and motto to guide the reader through the words themselves.

“And what happens in the book?”

“Well, this is a book about X.”

Repeat these questions to yourself, this mainstream, modern mainlining mantra, and better yet, choose a book constantly repeating them for you, and if you like the experience, the reading is fun. Fun—because books are entertainment, after all. This is what we look for in life, and in our books; we wish to separate the work from the play, and do the former for that much more time with the latter. Light and dark, good and bad, salt and pepper, black and white.

It does have something to do with teenagers, doesn't it? The “the majority” always seeks easier books, in these terms “young-adult” books, is because they put reading in the category of fun, as opposed to work. Every young adult hates Shakespeare, because it is “dull, uninteresting, hard to understand, old,” and so on. Not every person felt this way in their youth of course, not about Shakespeare, nor Homer, nor Plato, nor reading in general, but this is what the majority may feel, because the majority is an entity that separates work from play. Work is what goes on in school, and play is what I want. Satisfy my base desires, and let me squeak through work as easily as I can. But for some reason, some of us found base desires easier to satisfy with certain substances and activities, during or after which it was highly pleasurable to pick up one of these classic books. Bong hits and The Illiad, for whatever reason. Shakespeare and heavy petting. Not just Romeo and Juliet either. What sort of person gets a little aroused by Lady Macbeth? Boil and bubble, teenagers in trouble. For whatever reason, our play seemed to keep crossing over into that artistic stuff, that stuff that everyone else said was supposed to be work.

If only life were flatter and easier to grasp. Not so many obstacles and more straight lines, direct passageways from one point to the next. Life can be made to mean more or less, depending on what you do with it. Push and pull it around how you want, arrange it in even rows, whatever. Words, on the other hand, will not mean more or less. However, you can still push them around. They are building blocks. Children may build castles and houses and railway stations with their blocks, but nobody is upset if they don't reflect local building codes and engineering specifications. It is a pattern with which to play. We play with the words, as we write and read them. Maybe they look like things, maybe they don't, but it is overwhelmingly odd to get angry at them if they don't take us anywhere, or fulfill our desires. They are words after all—not life itself.

But if they are not just work or play, then what are these words to me? What is this strange power, tugging on the exposed parts of my teenage desires like magic? Magic blocks of some kind. And a good magic is hard to find. 616 is the other number of the beast, you may or may not know, the unlisted number, never dialed, and never spoken. No meaning here, nothing that you would recognize. Hidden desire and more power, or so I like to tell it. Less speaking of truth and more fuel to power. Oh—that we all enjoyed speaking fuel to fire, the cold evaporative quality of gasoline on the skin, but in words of course. But we don't really want them all in here. Not those crowds of angry, sexy youth on TV. The magic is more potent when it is spoken softly, in the dark, over pure silence, over a single naked stranger in the dark. All magic has to be a little secret.

Of course for those of us engaged in the endless war of pouring words out onto the ground, hoping they somehow, some way worm themselves into someone's ear, we often wish we could use a funnel. Shouting out our magic into the cold air off the edge of the cliff is its own catharsis, but everyone wants a little love. Some even want cash. Some care about the “health of the industry”, whatever that is. Goodness knows they've never seen a day inside the gloom of a factory in their lives. But still, we invest. So we make it into little rhymes. The easiest poetry is that which rhymes. Only so much can fit into it.

Got a bit
Of plot to spit
Meaning's little
Elementary shit.

Young folks like rap music too. Draw yourself another straight fucking line. Often about sex, drugs, cash, etc. Desires of course, set to the hard beating bop of the pounding-fuck music, and some synth on top like whipped cream on a go-go dancer. Desire satisfied, at 120 beats per minute. Don't hate the plot, hate the game. Hiphop may not be goin' out, but you sure don't see KRS-One on MTV.

The magic of youth is impressive; and I mean those teenage years, not the forgotten and repressive childhood. When the desires first start to loosen those bonds, is when we decide whether the magic is going to be the broadcast, megawatt, culture hearth, or whether we're going to listen to the empty frequencies, where we swear we hear secret agents reciting magic spells to pervert the bosses. We hang out at the reservoir at night, hoping someone is going to put acid in the water supply. We scribble in the margins of Harper Lee and Salinger, and look between the pages of our birthday present copy of On The Road, wondering why there isn't more here.

And then we grow up, at least a little bit, and we discover the secret library. Or we wish it was, and treat it like it was, sharing only with our friends, and with our imaginations. We imagined ourselves discovering Borges' fictional libraries. We looked deep into Pynchon's books for the missing footnotes, and the sourceless references. We sifted through Derrida's scattered and mistranslated postcards, looking at the pictures, if nothing else. We laughed at Heller's endless hilarious jokes, which are so funny because people actually died all throughout. We poured over Deleuze and Foucault's incomprehensible diagrams, which at least we could all agree were beautiful, and so we hung them as art. We felt the urge to listen to Glass' repetitions on repeat, or if not Glass, then perhaps at least Sonic Youth, and if not them, then certainly Joy Division.

And we didn't stop there. We revisited, and looked back, trying to find more evidence of magic through the centuries, even though we knew very well it didn't strictly existence. Because what does? When the most meaningful magic is what is secret, erased, discarded, mislabeled, untranslatable, and hard to fathom, who is to say there isn't magic anywhere there isn't a strict, straight, plotted line of meaningful existence? And so we fell in the void. We invented religion within Nietzsche, and made the biblical prophets, and Dante into science-fiction authors. And in learning about farce, we learn about tragedy. We handed out placards of deep meaning to Artaud, and to Schreber, and to others whose diagnosis and suffering was not so defined, but whose madness we minted into coin. We appointed positions within this madness, our own conquering angels in Pollock and again, in Nietzsche. We allowed the violence of every male artist or musician to ever hit a woman to be tragically beautiful, pondering rather than condemning. We did the same with Heidegger, Grass, Celine, and other tragedies of history. We elevated the drugs of Charlie Parker, William Burroughs, and Bukowski to be sacred and holy transubstantiations, which we may have sampled, or only handed off to these sacrifices. And we never wondered why Beckett, Cortezar, Ginsberg, Sartre, DeLillo, Ballard, and most of the rest all happened to be men, as if it were a total accident.

And mistakes were made, and they'll be made again. This is magic we're dealing with. This is heady, dangerous stuff, that none of us really understand, though we've got the books to back it up. We have to press forward, away from the path of plot, and keep heading on there. Keep writing secrets in our little black books, and keep our own teenage desires wrapped up in the dark. Can you blame us? What else should we do? Get a job, join the army, find a spouse, make some children? Forget any magic there ever was lurking in the corners, and pop on the radio, turn up TV, open a microwave dinner, go to the movies? Blast the silence out of us with advertisements? Blank space is wasted time, and wasted time is unrealized profit, after all. Draw the text straight, make the lines even, keep the text under 80K words, and the vocab below the level of the New York Times? Write and read topically, directly, and keep it pure and fun? Is this any better? Are we happy yet? Is it art? Is it marketable? Have we won?

Fuck that, and keep it punk. Punk was commodified, but it was the same idea. Turn up the incoherence, raise the middle finger, and if they wanted to stay, then let 'em. It was commodified, or it died. Same difference I guess, when you're crawling around in the dark on the floor, covered in something, looking for something to put in your mouth. It stopped moving around in the dark and left the room, so forget it, and if you leave this room right now, I guess I don't want to talk to you either.

And so let 'em take drugs, and let 'em fuck boys, and let 'em turn it up, or down, or play it twelve times on repeat, or backwards, distorted to hell and back, and fuck it, let's pray to hell for a change, and see who sticks around. Let them join the Nazis or the Stalinists I guess, and if they aren't killed on the back of that motorcycle maybe we'll still buy their next book. Or maybe we'll buy it only if they are killed. And I would have an intervention, but do you think he's ever going to stop using until they cut his arms off? And maybe we could send him somewhere, but would that really make him better? And maybe she should leave him, maybe they all should, but that's her decision I guess, and she still hasn't even after all the times. Maybe she should write a book. How come she doesn't? I'd buy it, as long as it doesn't come with plot.

I shoplift all my books anyhow. I steal them off my friend's nightstand, when he doesn't finish them. I accumulate late fines from the library as if it were income tax. I sure as hell don't buy them at the mall. I sure as hell don't buy them online. I have all these needs, you understand. I have to tell you want it's about. I have to understand what it's about, even though I haven't read all those magic spells. I've just got to, you understand, I need to. I got to turn away that mob, I got to fuck over the media, I got the subvert the spectacle, I got to sift a vanguard from those majoritarian masses. I got to turn those steeple bells upside down, and bury these upturned caldrons in my dark, basement pit, all of it on the right cosmological day I found referenced in this text, I got to bang in the cover of night, man, I got to play the new sound, the oldest music in my short teenage history. I got to find the forbidden, the beyond, the baddest bitches brew of them all.

And if you are still with me, still in the room, motherfucker, than you know it doesn't have fuck all to do with plot.

An Unmarked Timeline

- If a website presents a timeline of data with small enough x-axis segments, and includes a countdown to the next update, it is "real-time", whether or not the update comes, and whether or not you ever visit the site again.

- If you are in a spaceship traveling faster than light, and someone builds a giant billboard clock placed along your route, which appears to you to be ticking once per second, then you could be standing still.

- I remember a fictional novel, the premise of which is that if a room is re-constructed accurately to a particular time, with every object actually authentic (wink, wink--"authentic") to the time period as it was, then a person was in the room for a certain amount of time (he he--"certain amount") wearing authentic clothing, then they could be transported back in to that period. Call it the Steampunk method of historical augmentation (note: not reality augmentation) 'cept it works. Also of interest: I can re-tell this little story, but even with all the powers of the internet, I cannot sum up the name of the title or the author, because I have no tagline reference point. For all you and I know, I invented this fictional book, and it has never/does not exist.

- There are classes and courses to teach you how to speed-read. The read faster. But there are no lessons on how to read multiple books at one time. I normally read three to four books at once. It is possible to read an infinite amount of books at once. You may read them worse, but you still read them, and possibly no worse than you would have read them one at a time.

- One at a time. Read faster. One at a time.

- Nobody teaches you how to remember things, either. Besides telling you to take notes. In a timeline. And date them. Every day.

- If a Twitter update doesn't fit in the 140, it might go to a blog. You could link to the blog post via Twitter, but no matter what, the thought is cut out of the timeline, forever.

- [follow me on twitter!]


Ditch Mercator, go with the Interdome Projection

As with many new technologies, it seems that the fanfare about Augmented Reality has gotten caught up in the magical, special effect aspects of the user experience, and is ignoring the way the technology actually works.

Lucky for you, you have a dedicated semiotician and materialist at your disposal. Me! Allow me to fly into your view-finder and set a few things straight.

For a long time now, we have been finding ways to organize data inside of our physical space. It actually does this by completing the inverse; geography seeks, by way of data, to orient our physical bodies in a ideal dimension, which via the data, supposedly corresponds to the real world.

I often go on at length about the Cartesian conception of the world, and geography is the premier example. We have developed a pair of axes known as longitude and latitude, and various projections which allow us to portray the topology of the earth, and by microcosm, all physical space we currently inhabit, in a two dimensional Cartesian projection. (And by extension, outer space, because right ascension and declination are a sort of radial integration into 3-D projected space out from our datapoint of datapoints, good old geocentric earth.)

This worked great for a long time, because the data was only a reference, allowing us to navigate over the topology through our relation to this ideal Cartesian plane (which I'll refer to as Geography, from now on). If I can find my own current position in Geography, I can then move myself to a different point in Geography, which, if I've saved my data correctly, will be where I buried my treasure. Point A and Point B in ideal Geography only matter to me if I have been able to accurately label the actual, physical ground as such in my mind, and continue to do so, repeatable as many times as I wish to go from Point A to Point B.

We don't need a map to walk to the store, because we can visualize the ideal Geographic journey from A to B within our head, using cues from the environment rather than a 2-D projection. The point of Geography is not to help us walk down the street, but to extend a realm of potential travel, which we could navigate to, using nothing more than correctly collected ideal Geographic data. If you are visiting my house, I could draw you a map to the store, and if I do a good job, you will arrive where you intended, even though you had never been there before. I did not transfer my memories of "the way to the store" to you. Instead, we communicated via the ideal data of Geography.

But, as we all know, Geography is imperfect, because it is ideal. I would hardly give you a compass, sextant, and two sets of Cartesian coordinates, and expect you to find the store. Instead, I would give you information that relates more to the specific, actual environment, rather than the ideal plane. I would say, "walk south on 50th, then turn right on Division. The store is right past the bus stop." I use a combination of Geography (south), locally specific Geographic conventions (street names), personal locution (right/left), and actual physical indications (near a unique, recognizeable object). These are all elements of our physical and metaphysical ideal perception of space. But the problem is, they are not unified in a Geographic plane. They are only unified within us.

Geotagging, and hence, most of the data AR systems are using, are based on the single plane of Geography. Using various geometries and measurements of radio signals, our devices can reasonably place us on the Geographic Cartesian plane, and maybe even draw us a fairly accurate diagram of other local Geographic conventions. But although this may satisfy the device's programming, what does this mean to us?

Sometimes, a great deal. Watching my phone trace my current position on Google Maps, I can find my way to almost anywhere I want to go. Of course, I must still look up and compare the map with my current location to see if I've actually arrived. And the maps do break down. I've gotten caught at numerous dead-end streets that were drawn as if they went through. And in the Peloponnese, I watched my blue dot snake for hours across a blank expanse of land with no apparent roads. Luckily we were looking out of the windows too, or we would have hit a herd of goats.

Now, one could attempt to improve the data keeping, and the technology by which the device calculates its position. This will achieve better and better results for the Geography. But the real question is, will this change the way we interact with our physical space?

I don't think AR will change our sense of physical space, at least as long as it continues to function via a Cartesian Geography. We have already have the ability to accurately identify our ideal position. This is not a new skill. A digital map in the palm of one's hand is pretty amazing, but semiotically, it is the same technology seafarers have been using for centuries.

But, digital technology is changing our worldview. Our sense of time is radically evolving, as we enter an age when all information that can be said to exist is simultaneously available from anywhere, at any time. Our place in time, and our place in history, is defined by the information we can express about ourselves, in relation to any other period of time. As the ubiquity of the Internet advances, the timeline of history reduces to a singular point. Our sense of history becomes what we can access from the palm of our hands, our vast (but limited) expanse of digital memory, in addition to the memories we already have in our minds.

Access has changed things, and will continue to change them. But we could always instanteously find our cardinal direction. What else is digital Access changing about our physical space?

Here's something that is actually completely magical. A week ago, when I went camping on the Salmon River in the Kalamath National Forest in Northern California, my digital device completely quit functioning for three days. It was not a concrete building, or bad data, or a downed server. It was that there was no data access at all. From here I can call up a digital map of the area from the Internet in about three seconds. But from there, I could not access a thing.

The infrastructural grid may be ever-expanding, but availability of physical access to the network will always be an issue. Actual gaps in service might be fixed, but the proximity to a transmitter will always affect access, and speed will never cease being a problem. There are access nodes strewn across the physical space, and we still must be close to them to access them. These access nodes create their own data as well, and change the way we access the network. Much of the Geographic data we use to identify our location is actually pulled from the access nodes themselves. Our place in the ideal Geography is defined by the actual physical facts of our access.

In a sense, this "closeness", this nearness to access, is more important than the ideal Geography. We are not looking to draw a straight line over an ideal plane, we are looking for things in our immediate physicality. I want the closest coffee, the nearest 24-hour grocery store, or the easiest southbound freeway access. Our programs might be able to find us these things, but they do it by comparing all the data to the ideal plane of Geographic data, and then by running a complicated algorithm to find which is the closest to us.

What if physical things were not tagged with Geographic longitude and latitude, but their locution to particular access points? What if each cellular tower and wifi hotspot was its own axis mundi? Each point of interest was identified by its radius and directional from the access point, and spontaneously provided from this access point to the device as soon as it was accessed?

We already do this; we call them cities. We break down the land into countries, states, counties, cities, municipalities, metro areas. Depending on the use of the structure, we define it differently, and access it accordingly.

Imagine coffee municipalities--all the known coffee shops are broken down into their neighborhoods. So in the Inner Eastside coffee district, you know that the best spot is Bob's Beans. But if you crossover into the Westside River district, then the best choice is Jill's Java.

You see, we already do this all the time in our mind. We think of where we are, and imagine the best restaurant/bar/coffee in the area. We think in terms of access. If for some reason we want a particular place, our spatial dimensions shift. Rather than looking for the best ____ that is easy to get to, we think of the easiest way to get to that one particular ____. The real axis is always access, because either in our minds or in the physical world, it is what controls our experience. This is why we have favorite cities, favorite ways to get in and out of town, favorite neighborhoods, favorites subway lines, favorite pedestrian streets. Our favorites are not categorized as data in terms of longitude and latitude, or in a 5-star tier, or even in an algorithm of these combined. We orient ourselves in the world by what we can access at any particular time. This praxis is our true augmented reality.

In the same way as the semantic web attempts to mediate between the dimensional databases and our sense of lived expression in language, augmented reality attempts to replicate our conception of accessible space. However, the databases do not translate to our lived experience. They are databases, and are created in dimensions fit for cataloging and searching data sets. However, if we begin to move our navigations through the data of the network in terms of access, we might be able to find a way our consciousnesses can merge with the network, that works better than staring into a little visual portal, or even looking at down at a map.

The praxis is the key. The state of immediate consciousness in which our metaphysical conceptions of space and time intersect with our expressive awareness of specific phenomena in space and time. It is not a singular point, or a pair of eyes, but a looped and tied web.

The technology should mimic our consciousness, in way that we can use. If we developed "digital phenomena", access point tags that were present as we walked down the street, we could interact with these phenomena, and remember certain things. It doesn't need to be an RFID tag, or even a barcode. It could be a set of characteristics. A geometry of a store front compared to the height of the building and the depth of the sidewalk. What would you remember best? A logo? A face? Your device remembers it. Then it asks how you feel.

What is this place to you? Yes or no? Hot or cold? Hungry or thirsty? Do you have money? Do you need money? Who are you thinking of now? Who would you most like to talk to?

Then, our devices share on the network.

Are these meaningless bits of data? Only if they have no way to relate to others data. They don't need a univocal Geometry, or a rubric of rating. They need a way to interrelate. What did other people feel about this place? Do you feel that they felt the same way as you? How does this make you feel now?

And then, where do you go next? How does it all fit in to your day? Will you go to the same places again tomorrow?

Part of the beauty of the network is the availability of access not just to the network itself, but to the constituting substance of the network--millions upon millions of anonymous data points, that only become meaningful where shared, added to, and commented upon. Access is nothing unless you are accessing something. We need to begin sharing our praxis as well as our thoughts and times. We need to unite all our conscious thoughts and perceptions. We need to access each other, and not just a Geography.

Will it mean something immediately? Probably not. I'll open my device to all access points in range, and I'll get a firehose of data. Red, yes, hungry, bad service, scared, blue, too expensive, lonely, sex, newness, big, west, no, green. But maybe we can scrape something from this flow, something not just projected upon a map, but something that is immediate and expressive.

Once my device tells me, as an accumulation of all the access available:

"There's a good place, not too pricey, near the mailbox on 2nd avenue right past the store with the cheap beer with a real pretty cashier. I think maybe on the left-hand side of the street went walking downtown."

I probably wouldn't know it off hand. Maybe I would be able to find it. But finally, the device would be augmenting my reality, by networking our praxis.