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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy holidays, everyone  §

I am still alive and I am still wishing all of you all the best. The world is a complex, unfair, unfulfilling, and poignant place. In solidarity with the other humans.

How do you throw a party,  §

on the last weekend before Christmas, to which all spouses are specifically not invited and are in fact explicitly excluded? And if you happen to be such a spouse, why exactly would you agree to go?

I could not possibly be more disappointed, offended, or hurt by the entire situation and I seem to be alone in the world in feeling this way.

I cannot  §

survive

People get upset  §

when they think you don’t trust them.

Then they tell you that they won’t promise you anything and that they will happily betray you first opportunity they get, so you’d better not rely on them. They have no allegiance to you and every allegiance to everyone else in the world. You are on your own and they are not on your side. They tell you this to your face when you ask if you can rely on them.

So why are they shocked if they think you don’t trust them when they say such things every time it comes up?

Women make decisions entirely in reaction to whatever is happening to them right now. This is why they hurt people all the time. Because they don’t care about consequences, they don’t care about people or feelings that aren’t pressing on them right now, and they are so emotional and impulsive as to destroy anything they have ever claimed to have loved in the heat of one moment.

It is left to we “crazy” men to wonder whether they ever regret it afterward.

They say they do; that’s the story of my life. But I don’t think I know what “regret” is when it comes to women.

I’m getting older  §

by the day. I figure my life is half over, give or take.

I don’t know what I’m working toward. I’m probably not working toward anything, just away from things. That is the western, post-enlightenment, capitalist way.

I’ve been hurt by a lot of people. I don’t have any sympathy for them. I’m really a reasonably patient guy. I’m about as patient as you can be and not be a reactive ass. And that makes for a short life. I have it in me to fight back, have opinions, be offensive, stake a claim, but mostly I don’t. Mostly I let people do their thing, until and unless they cross the threshold of my self-respect.

But getting back on point… I’ve been hurt by a lot of people.

Sometimes I wonder what I wish for them. I wonder just what “justice” is in individual cases. I suppose if I were to be either politically correct or terribly empathetic, I would say that “justice” is an inappropriate and strange term here and that people are free to do what they will.

Thing is, I’m not that politically correct, nor am I that empathetic.

I believe in hard justice.

And thus, justice is what I am unable to provide. Justice would be if I were to take on the role of “punisher” in the wake of wrongs. I used to think (when I was a teenager) that I was a subjective justice machine. This is clearly not the case and I don’t believe it any longer. If I were such a machine, people would be dead and I would be in jail.

Instead, I readily concede when asked that there is no justice in life.

But I know what I think. I know that it is unpopular. I also know that I have a very high I.Q. and am very well read and have more degrees than most and have written books and joined very exclusive intellectual clubs that are not open to just anyone.

Do such things make me right?

Do I believe in right?

I believe, at the end of the day, that right is a conceptual construct that has taken on a certain autonomy with respect to might that is unsustainable. That is to say: no. There is no right. There is power. Some have it, and some don’t. I have some of it, but not all of it.

There are also feelings. These are neither rational nor irrational. They are, instead, subjectivities. They are infinitely valuable (or at least, as valuable as any human life) and similarly worthless. They are the battlefield for supremacy. They are the battlefield for fulfillment and fruition.

They are the battlefield of being.

I want to be. I want very much to be, if only for a moment. I don’t know, though, if I can countenance the suffering and the sacrifice and the risk that this might entail. I don’t know if I am capable of being. I don’t know (honestly) if this is even actually what I want, but all other things I can imagine are immediately filed under “things I (probably) don’t want,” so it seems as prudent as anything to pursue this particular avenue.

Sometimes I want to simply buy an “avenging angel” costume and a pile of bullets and listen to pop songs about killing as I play judge, jury, and executioner for the world.

As Lucy said in a particularly astute cartoon, if nobody else is willing to claim the job out of some deference to the innumerable other, “I will!”

Somebody should.

It’s all a farce.

Bring the fucking judge and let’s be done with it already!

I suppose, at the end of the day, I long for totalitarianism. Because I am one of those (like a few billion others on earth) that thinks: one wrong conviction and a hundred right ones is an acceptable ratio. One wrong conviction to preserve a generation of stability is an acceptable ratio. Hell, 1,000,000 wrong convictions to preserve a 1,000,000,000 strong generation of stability is also an acceptable ratio.

Individual freedom? No one should be free. Ever. All should answer to the dictates of society, not as determined by the mob, but as determined by the elite, by the better-than, by the higher-than, by the smarter-than, by the powerful. Sorry, folks, I grew up where I grew up, and democracy has done more harm to me than the old Soviet Union ever did.

Let the guilty suffer. I only wish there was some way to make the guilty suffer and the innocent understand that actually, everyone is guilty and all suffering is therefore justified.

Call me a misogynist misanthropist. I won’t say you’re unfair or inaccurate.

When people are truly honest with each other, the worst happens.
When people are dishonest with each other, the worst happens.

Conclusion: the worst happens.

If you are scared by what is near,  §

idealize what is far.

Works every time!

(For a moment. Then you find out that you have royally fucked up.)

The big questions  §

are never answered without concession. If you are not, as is true in my case, amongst those that are capable of granting concessions without first dying, then you are destined to find that the big questions grow ever bigger as your life progresses.

The littlest problems become the problems that consume your life, and each time you are sure that you have outrun one of them and begin to lower your defenses, they return again with a vengeance heretofore unimagined.

You are trapped by yourself and by your desperate need for the world to be the way that you want it to be. The world, of course, will go on happily being something else entirely. And, if you are like me, you know that you will fight it each step of the way, no matter how hopeless, no mater how pathetic, no matter how dangerous. Such a path leads in two directions:

– You get to be Mao, Stalin, or Hitler
– Or you find yourself crushed under the wheels of justice, normativity, and sociality

The older I get, the more I am a Nietzschean.

The older I get, the more I wonder just what it is that holds my life together. Is there some miraculous technology of the self keeping my being afloat, or is it dumb luck that I am not yet consumed, despite those many twists, turns, and thresholds at which I thought I might be?

Do I love society or hate it?

Am I a totalitarian or an agnostic?

Is this the dialectical self or is it merely failure?

Will I know before I die, or is dying the only true form of knowing?

It’s official. I am going gray. This does not bode well for any dreams I may harbor of unusual longevity.

Hot-rodding an M200  §

Okay, it’s been a while since I did the “tech hack” thing even in the small way I’m about to describe, but it’s been fun this weekend to take my 1.8Ghz Toshiba M200 Tablet PC to 2.3Ghz. Here were the steps:

1) Swap out the 1.8Ghz Pentium M Dothan (400Mhz FSB) with a 2.1Ghz Pentium M Dothan (400MHz FSB).

2) Get ahold of a Toshiba M200 factory initialization floppy image that contains a utility to write the CPU characteristics to flash for proper support/initialization on boot.

3) Edit the CPU table on the floppy using a hex editor to contain an entry for the particular 2.1Ghz CPU involved.

4) Open the laptop, pop out the old CPU, pop in the new CPU.

5) Boot the floppy, write the new CPU characteristics to the BIOS, reboot, voila, 2.1Ghz.

6) Determine the clock chip (ICS 952618) and verify that I can take the speed higher using an SMBus utility like CPUFSB, ClockGen, or CPUCool. It’ll actually go as high as 2.6Ghz, but that takes the PCI clock too high for my liking. I also like stability.

7) Realize that FSB overclocks in Linux, apart from Asus eeePC, are not exactly easy to achieve.

8) Create a full Windows 98 install image on a bootable SD card and install CPUFSB there.

8a) Reconfigure my 2.6.27.8 kernel to have a minimally-sized image and to load anything possible dynamically as a module.

8b) Install LOADLIN on said bootable SD card along with the newly minimal 2.6.27.8 kernel (old, real-mode LOADLIN faints if you hand it an uncompressed kernel image over 2MB or so).

9) Switch from the slightly faster AGPGART to NVAGP to re-enable hibernate since sleep/resume won’t work with mismatched clocks.

10) Voila! Insert SD card, boot Windows 98 -> Linux with a higher FSB. Hibernate/restore the same way. For “regular speed” operation, simply pop out said SD card.

The speed difference from 1.8Ghz is noticeable; most specifically, I can now watch pretty much any video online, even very high quality/high resolution videos like the MSNBC feeds, without stuttering or problems of any kind, which was really what drove me to this in the first place.

But it’s also nice to be able to tell myself that I have upgraded to a 2.3Ghz Pentium M (equiv. to about a 3.5Ghz Pentium 4, or to single-core operation of a Core Duo) using an FSB overclock and an “illegal” CPU for this mainboard and that it’s working rock-solid in Linux. The M200 proves to be an awesome platform for “upgradeability.” Got it at 1.8Ghz/40GB/512MB and now running 2.3GHz/160GB/2GB and the NVidia GeForce5 series GPU inside it is just enough to make most things that I need to do doable.

Oddly enough, the hardest part of the whole thing was getting Windows 98 to install on an SD card with a bootable floppy image on it, given the way the BIOS sets the drives up and the fact that all of the MBR and boot stuff ends up in a read-only ramdisk (where the image lives) rather than on the SD card itself, meaning that I had to do some “by hand” work to reconstruct the boot image to match the Windows 98 expectations through each install step. That and the fact that Windows 98 punts cryptically with 2GB of installed memory, which confused the hell out of me for a while and prevented the installer from proceeding beyond a certain point. (A win.ini fix is required to make it work.)

Hopefully this upgrade helps us hold out for another year or two. At this point the biggest gripes are a gradually dimming backlight and slowly waning structural integrity.

Okay, end pitifully geeky-but-yet-embarrassingly-not-even-that-geeky blog post.

Life is crazy  §

and demands lively, Spookey punk rock from Japan.

Thoughts on  §

Understanding / Protocol

The average human is no longer capable of understanding, or are the born with the necessary temporal or material resources to be able to develop within society understanding of, the vast technosocial infrastructure(s) that underlie and structure most of today’s quotidian practice—internets, mobile phones, traffic regimes, social regimes, law and legality, currency and finance, etc.

Each of these concepts is bound to massive networks of social actors, volumes of institutionalizations, regularizations, and concept constructions, imponderable technical resources of previously unimaginable complexity, etc.

For the average person, therefore, for which all of this is little other than magic and mysticism, the only way to function is to be supplied with a series of circumstantially dictated and ordered rules and behaviors that are credited with a normative rationality. They are, in essence, given an API/ABI or a protocol to their little corner of the world, and cannot be expected to act other than accordingly if the API/ABI or protocol breaks in some way.

Action

Action is a central sociological concept that appears to rely on a number of assumptions for its utility. These seem to be (1) measurement of ends as comparable or linked in some way to means, (2) means deployed by intentionality/rationality, and (3) a locus for this intentionality/rationality that is fully elaboratable and bounded, the model for this being the embodied self.

All of these things need to be called into question in a world in which selves are often external to the body in any recognizable way, even for the meanings and phenomenal experiences of said bodies, and in which what is traditionally conceived of as “inaction” is equally likely to produce measurable ends, despite the “actor’s” intention not to “act,” intention not to “indend,” or even lack of any intentionality or conscribable discrete consciousness to which to attribute any such intentionality.

Time for something new; the world has shifted under our feet and we are still schematizing it and “acting upon it” in ways that are congruent to other architectures, conceptual, technical, and social.

That’s how we get into unexpected crises of various kinds.

That’s another way to approach the causal factors implicated in “social change.”

When I was younger I was sure  §

that humanity was beautiful.

The older I get, the more I think it is beyond ugly. Misanthropic, incorporated. That’s me.

Recently I think I’m back to  §

I hate life and am turned on by pointless suffering that is a metaphor for my own broken soul.

Or something.

Is this too dramatic?

This has been the week  §

to end all weeks. The last seven days have been difficult, deflating, dastartly, dead-endish, dogged, desperate, down, and dirty, to say the least. There has been no more difficult seven day period since I arrived in New York.

I am flat. I am flatbergasted. I am ready for a break. I am exhausted. I am running on fumes. I am fuming about the way I’ve been running. I wish I could wipe its memory from my mind.

I am going to relish spending the next week sitting at home actually working on something academic. It is going to be oh so nice to use my mind instead of my adrenaline and furrowed brow.

And tonight I am simply going to go home and vegetate.

Life can be brutal  §

Pile it up.

I’ve seen this movie before.  §

Isn’t there any way to change the ending?

Or is life really this pointless, thus ugly?

I feel totally alone right now.

And there is no one I can safely tell that to.

And that makes me feel more alone.