September 30, 2011


Google Politix

It was realized unto me that The Great Google has been outed for giving cash to the right-wing Heritage Foundation (bullet point one). My connections in both Facebook and Google+ may have seen that I’ve been mounting a one-man campaign to get folques to try and perhaps even switch to Google+. Few are the simple reasons for this and if I haven’t told you or you’ve yet to figure out that Facebook is evil then the matter will, hopefully for the sake of your mortal soul, soon be apparent. So The Google’s a bona fide grown-up now. I've never said it wasn't part of the system — could be it’s one of the beasts of St. John’s wacky vision and will usher in such tribulation as will have blood flow to the horse’s bridle. Or it could be that Facebook is such or even another beast in tandem, triplicate, or whatever. I lose count, and I digress.

It was just a matter of time before this, which has likely gone on for a few years, had a stink raised. Welcome to America, big deal. The only way to get your way in politics is to spend money. That may be unfortunate for many of us, and so the only answer may be to get moneyed interests that align with yours to get in to politics. Most of us can’t/don't want to take the time to do that. And hereby sits the friction™* — I defer first to the Way Left of Right Rev. Jeff Mosier, who knows as did George Carlin that “it’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

“The table is tilted and the game is rigged. It's not the GOP or Dems, it's the legalization of bank robbery, the industrialization of war, the suicidal addiction to FDA-approved food that kills us, and an addiction to material objects as a replacement for family and community. We're sick people and yet we stand and let delusional preachers, pundits and bullshit marketers from every walk of life sell us and scare us by controlling the conversation. Shame on us. People need to start posting, prodding and making some real noise in the country. I'm shocked every single day at the silence. Really shocked.”

So can we overtake the powers that be? Realize that it has to be a bloodless revolution of the mind because any other kind literally, yes literally, means the unfolding of a very unkind world that could take decades to start healing after the brunt. Yes, that’s heavy, but I still have hope that it will not go that way. Back here in 2011 we see the information age chugging along and with it the greatest opportunity for the masses to engage the system and mold it into what’s workable for stable society, complete with mixed economy, neighborliness, and tolerance for all. That’s a pledge I could stand for.

So is Google wrong for playing the game with the rules that have been written over the last 200 years? Not if they want to stay alive, and I’m glad they’re working at that because they are a tool we need. The right wing is not going away and represents a major chunk of their customers. I could sit and wring my hands over how awful it would be if all information was ground to a halt, but I believe, (of course idealistically, since it could be electricity that halts) that a majority of prominent individuals in the tech universe as we know it are bent toward true social action, reaction and interaction, and that they know the right is on the wrong side of history (again). Until, and if so after the shit hits the fan, I have to work it like they and billions more people in a hundred other fields have got my back.

*replacement cliche, all rights reserved. 

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September 22, 2011


Faux toes

My mother was a dedicated, if somewhat frugal, archivist. By this I mean she kept a diary that was almost strictly composed of short date/event postings (“Aug. 12 - Brookfield Zoo – lost Timmy during dolphin show”) as opposed to flowing, thoughtful prose about the meaning of it all. Indeed, the woman sprang off seven kids, so when the question of existence came up it was filtered through the experience of being pregnant for five-and-a-quarter years, and I can’t help but think that just keeping her eyes on the prize of eternal basking in glory was a suitable default. Photo-wise, she faithfully documented all manner of events from church picnics to her golf league’s crazy hat day, though her Depression-era raising usually precluded anything more than three or four snapshots per. She’d mail rolls of film off to a processor and it would take weeks to get them back. She was just going the usual ultra-cheap route and not considering the cool buildup of surprise unconsciously growing in us to the point of explosion when the mailman pulled out that yellow craft envelope with the green triangles around the border.

I was into photography big time in high school and college. I still regard it as one of the most perfect blends of art and science. I love to take them, I love to look at them, and through the years I've even taken a few stabs at organizing them. Of course there's a difference between artistic compositions and everyday snapshots, and for both I've applied my usual level of slackery to putting them in order. My collection is divided between a few somewhat chronological albums and framed (and hung) work along with several very disorganized shoeboxes full of photos still in the processing envelopes and a pile of to-be-hung frames (some waiting nine years now since we moved to our current residence). A few times I've had the bug for finding certain photos of a certain something and ended up browsing happily through the boxes for hours.

A friend recently mentioned their disenchantment with taking and archiving heaps of photos, and I can’t say I’m immune to the ennui and the conflict between being a packrat or a pragmatic “what are you going to do with all of these?” person. Since my son was born I’ve produced thousands of pictures and several hours of video. The latter is truly compounding my trepidation of what to do, as the task of rendering them into remotely watchable lengths and subjects stands at monumental, and the boy isn’t yet five. But there is a converse comfort to having them available – every time I’ve ever sifted through them I get blissfully stuck in front of the computer screen just as predictably as when I get out the shoeboxes. I’m an incurable shutterbug, for worse but mostly for better.

It’s interesting how the science of photography has changed the hobby, obviously since its inception but also in the 30 years since I had my first 35mm SLR – a Ricoh Singlex TLS. The camera was solid; I sometimes imagined myself as a crime-fighting news photographer, waylaying evildoers with a roundhouse swing of my 5-lb. TLS and then taking the photos for the article on their capture. I’ve long regretted having sold it some years after college for a relatively paltry sum. A couple of years ago I acquired a relatively modern 35mm SLR film camera of very good quality, but I rarely use it. I had meant to have it as a hobby camera for artsy B&W stuff, but over the years B&W film processing has become expensive and of questionable quality. Setting up a darkroom is but a dream at this point, what with most equipment either approaching antique status or, if new, sold at inflated niche market prices. So for now I’ve taken to the popular modern pastime of learning Photoshop fairly well and having fun with that, but I would like to get back to my old school ways someday, at which point I’ll need more shoeboxes.

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