From the time you get up till the time you go to sleep—even beyond that, if you use a digital sleep tracker—the average twenty-first-century citizen is subject to constant surveillance, caught in a interrogative crossfire, a sticky network fixing your locational, attitudinal and general behavioral spoor 24/7, holding it for the digital spiders that come to collect all this lovely data and cart it off to Big Data centers for digestion and construal in ways that help the spider collective … Read more
Items overheard on BBC radio this morning: Japan is forbidding entry to anyone with tattoos; and Argentina is suffering a plague of beavers, a non-native species that has has changed water drainage patterns sufficiently that native plant species are going locally extinct. All this comes hot on the heels of Trump winning the US presidential election, and I take it to be further evidence of space-time dimensional slips that have us careening from one progressively less adjacent parallel universe to … Read more
A freshly minted aphorism, hot off the In Reality press:
Noble artistic souls are commercially inert in the way noble metals and gases are chemically inert.
Always wear clean undergarments with no holes in them. And so mothers everywhere will warn you. A rule to live by. “What if you have an accident and have to go to hospital?” Well, yeah, eh? But my mother, at least, never told me that red-blooded, hairy-chested hombres such as I would come to be risk even greater embarrassments.
The magazine was going through a let’s-economize-on-expenses phase, is why I was headed back to my hotel in … Read more
My ‘cleansing fast’ entailed, among other means of detoxifying body and soul, ten days of no food and twice-daily colonic irrigations. In my own defense, I did this only in the line of duty as a writer. Plus it involved staying in a pleasant seaside resort on Phuket, Thailand.
For a week and a half, voluntarily and allegedly in my right mind, I refrained from inserting as much as a single chewable morsel into my mouth. I was also subjected … Read more
Overheard, an item of happy hour flotsam: “I never read fiction. I’m only interested in the real world.”
Yeah, well. So you go ahead and tell me all about your ‘real world.’
Personality, culture, our realities themselves are narrative in structure. We and our worlds are stories we tell ourselves and each other, individually and collectively. This is something most people don’t understand. Reality is a social construct. Always. Once people do recognize this, even only tacitly, then the construction … Read more
In my last post, ‘Interpermeable realities, material & digital,’ I suggested that manipulative impulses, as well as sources of addiction, are leaking over from our digital worlds into our material realities. The impulse to conduct a word search in a paper book for just one example.
Even before the digital age, of course, we’d experience impulses to alter our material world merely by wishing hard. A faux pas, for instance, could make you wish you had access … Read more
Do you ever try to conduct word searches while reading a print book? What an odd sensation. Just for a moment, you mentally reach for a control that isn’t there. Then you realize this is a paper book, and if you want to find that word or passage you have to use the index, if there is one, or else estimate where in all those pages it’s most likely to appear, and then skim the actual material book manually. What … Read more
Bill the Mathematician has just sent me a link to ‘David Chang’s Unified Theory of Deliciousness.’ As it happens, nine years later than the rest of the world, I’m currently hooked on the Breaking Bad TV series, and I have to wonder whether there’s a connection between Chang’s theory of deliciousness and a formula for creating great characters in fiction.
As Chang says:
… Read more
A chef can go crazy figuring out how much salt to add to
I had positivism and the notion of eternal recurrence sussed when I was five or six years old.
Back in this boondocky town where I lived at the time, the streets were littered with horse turds from the one big white horse that pulled the garbageman’s wagon. Waste ground, of which there was plenty, tended to be covered with rubbish I guess the garbageman didn’t categorize as garbage. For example I remember patches of rhomboid glass fragments like dull gems … Read more