My Thoughts Exactly

Living in the Strange Loop

All six of you who have read my novels know that, among other things, I’m kind of obsessive about the Hofstadterian notion of the Strange Loop.

Yesterday in my internet voyaging looking for examples of Magic Eye pictures1 (of which I could not remember the name), I came upon Michael Bach’s wonderful website about optical and visual illusions, which led me to Goo-Shun Wang’s quite marvelous short animated movie Hallucii, about a guy (who quite resembles me, actually) who stumbles into a strange loop and, quite cleverly, (eventually, apparently), finds his way out.

Take a few minutes to watch, and see what it’s like to be me:
.

Below the fold: a footnote & a painful comment.
UPDATE The version on Goo-Shun Wang’s site doesn’t seem to be working today. Below the fold, I’ve embedded a youtube version.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Getting back to our paranoid rootz: The Palfrey “suicide”

My original vision for Wetmachine was that it would be kind of an anti-Boing-Boing: a technology-themed site full of fear and dread, skeptical of the notion of “progress” and paranoid about machines from nanoscopic brain-rearrangers to the DNA-sniffing, face-recognizing satellites in the sky– the Overmind emergent. Then of course 9/11 changed everything.

I’m sorry, that was a joke.

Or no, actually it wasn’t. For what’s the point of a half-joking technoparanoia site when Dick Cheney is in the White House? What I’m trying to say is, do you think the “D.C. Madam” killed herself, or do you think she was suicided?

By the way, that’s a link to the site “Infowars.com”, where the motto is, “Because there is a war on for your mind”. That site, like its sister site Prison Planet, represent the deepest fears of my fellow Wetmechiners about what Sundman may turn our little site into if he ever sets free his technoparanoiac demons. I guess with Infowars and Prison Planet out there, there’s no need for me to go nutz on Wetmachine. (But Harold, Greg, Howard: Watch out! The first danger sign is when he starts to talk about himself in the third person!).

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why I Have Decided To Endorse Obama.

So here it is “Super Duper Tuesday.” My own local primary (MD) will not be until next week. And while endorsing a candidate is always a perilous thing for those of us that work in Washington, I have decided to give the Tales of the Sausage Factory Endorsement to Senator Barack Obama.

Why? See below . . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

And counting!

Harold’s post, below, on the subject of ATT’s being [bleep!], is Wetmachine item #1000.

A while ago I came up with the notion of some kind of fireworks display to mark this momentous milestone, but somehow I never got around to it.

The “Nucleus” software that we use to drive this site assigns item numbers not monotonically, but according to some heuristic I cannot figure out. So Harold’s is not necessarily the 1000th blog entry here. But close enough. Harold, you win the booby prize! Which is a lifetime subscription to the Tales of the Sausage Factory RSS feed! Lucky you!

Parsing website stats is an arcane science art perhaps best done under the influence of burning oak leaves. When your referrer log is populated with pornsite spam, and your top search items are things like “freckled breasts” and “Katrina Witt Naked”, which have been driving dozens, or even hundreds of people to this site each month for years, it’s hard to take the numbers too seriously.

Yet even these rough metrics tell you something. According to my records, when Harold made his first post here, in December, 2002, we got 47 visitors on our biggest day, with an average of 26/day for the month. Lately we’ve been getting about 1100/day.

I’ll check back in with yz when we get to item 2000, s’OK?

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My Thoughts Exactly

When the writer strikes!

I’ve been keeping a desultory eye on the gathering strike by the Writer’s Guild of America, which is the screenwriters’ union — where “screen” means movie screen and television screen.

One of the points at issue is whether computer screens and iPhone screens also count as “screens”, that is, the writers want compensation for works of theirs that are distributed on the net, and, as I understand things, the other party doesn’t want to give it to them.

As a person who has made his living as a writer, kinda-sorta, since April, 1980, I find the notion of a writer’s union intriguing and somewhat baffling. It’s hard to imagine a technical writer’s union negotiating terms with Sun, Microsoft, or IBM. But why is that, exactly? Screenwriting is a much more solitary endeavor than technical writing, so on the face of it, one would expect screenwriters to be even less likely to unionize than technical writers. But then again, the stakes are higher in Hollywood, where the difference between an OK screenplay and a good screenplay is measured in millions of dollars at the so-called bottom line. So writers have more clout, is what I’m trying to say.

Recently my friend the Hollywood actor/producer/script-doctor has been making some noises about pimping the movie rights to my novel Acts of the Apostles. (It would make a great movie, by the way!) I have no understanding of the craft of screenwriting; nor do I have any free time not taken up by the day job & so-called life. So I’m not a very strong candidate to try my hand at writing a screenplay of my book. On the other hand, I’m not in the Guild, and, given that it is a guild— meaning that it’s hard to even gain admission to it— I’m unlikely to be in it anytime soon. So maybe I should go for it.

Act one, Scene one: Exterior. A dark and stormy night. . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Well Hello Again Everybody

And welcome once again to the Whiskey A Go-Go on the fabulous Sunset Strip.

Things seem a little slow around Wetmachine these days and I can only hope that Harold Feld has not gone on sabbatical, as I am a TotSF junky and am kinda jonesing a little right now. Howard Stearns has been a little scarce at ItF also, but I’m not worried: that boy is just gestating, I’m sure of it.

As for my own contributions, well, I’m working in my usual desultory way on three little essays:

— On the tendencies towards totalitarianism, anarchy and community, and where “technology” as a abstract concept fits into all of them;

— On the notion of Borgification;

— On walking away from a dream, or why I have stopped working on a novel that was specifically requested by a Big Name Publisher.

So, this is a placeholder entry. Until Stearns and Feld come back I’m going to hope that Gary will continue to populate with the odd disturbing story here and there so that we can continue in our disoriented stumblings into a fearful, fretful future the in the true Wetmachine way.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Mark Lombardi, fallen artist of the conspiracy-obsessed

Next time my bizniz takes me to San Francisco I’m going to make a pilgrimage to see the works

of



Mark Lombardi
, the self-murdered artist/martyr of the conspiracy-obsessed.

I only recently learned of Lombardi’s work. Evidently he had been a minor artist with a small cult following until September 11, and since then he’s become, so far as I can tell, a minor artist with a large, fanatical and growing cult following.

His preoccupations closely parrallel mine– we both subscribe to Ishmael Reed’s notion that history is the story of warfare among secret societies. But whereas I tend to think obsessively about technology and write stories, Lombardi thought obsessively about money and power and drew pictures.

I should point out that when I say “minor artist” I mean no slight. This fellow’s work absolutely captivates me, and if I don’t manage to see it in San Francisco I’ll drive to Iowa, if I have to, to see it in person.

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