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The What It Means To Live in Berkeley parade.
September 29th, 1999

Away From The Keyboard
Well, it works. I again have email. I can upload the journal. The DSL download speed decreases with line noise and this telephone line of mine is one silent son of a bitch. Downloads were measured at well over 1M, uploads at the advertised 128K. That's M as in Megabyte. I will stop talking about this now in deference to those who have started to hate me, but I will not stop thinking about it. I have a 24x7 T-1 line in my apartment for $49 per month including ISP access. A fire, a jug of wine and the Internet thou. Life in an age of marvels.

The buttons or pictures or whatever those are at the left link to my two On Display collaborations. Collaborations in the sense we are given a single topic every month for everyone to fashion into an entry. My first two were pretty much written in a vacuum, but I'm now going to read what the other members have written and look for ideas. They take time and clarity to write and although I have more time lately with the move completed, I don't have much clarity. I'm looking at words and occasionally paragraphs, but logical ideas and any progression between them seem, um, elusive. I think this is OK, it's all part of the experiment, but, you know, it can be humbling.... I'm not sure how long this will last or if I should go out and get my blood examined for small organisms. Or maybe my sleep apnea's back. Or the gods are restless. Or Peter Pan is dead. Or something. Mumble.

I know Archipelago does a parody in the Spring and I'm looking forward to that, each member parodying another member's journal. Getting the style and tone right will stretch my little boundaries and my guess is I'll need two or three months to work it out. (Two months, three weeks to procrastinate and one week to go bonkers.) The On Display collabs are more immediate, one a month, miss a deadline and the webmaster/mistress mafia kicks you off the list. Kind of exciting. Makes me think of people all dressed up in black leather and fish net stockings. I know Rien's into black, but I don't think he's into fish net stockings. Anyway, collabs. Now I have to figure out how Mandelbrot handles theirs.

I say I want to write this so I can reread old entries and examine them for clues. The What It Means to Live in Berkeley parade. (Haven't a clue, do you?) I really don't want to read the old entries, of course, that might be too depressing, but I remember some of them as I'm writing and not much seems to be happening in my life while what is happening seems a repeat of last week and last month and last year. Stuff's going on, I guess, but what kind of stuff? Have I become comfortably numb or do most people's lives settle into a mindless day in day out routine that passes quickly? Some do, some don't, some will, some won't. Or is this the goal? Cruising along one word at a time. Snapshots without a lot of thought. No next steps because they're, well, steep and you might fall and skin your knees. And every time I say that a little bullshit indicator goes off back in the brain. "bleep! bleep! bleep!" I get the occasional email suggesting this (in a nice and appreciated fashion) and the more cogent part that I keep out of public sight says, well, yes. Yes.

Part of it may be me hunkering down after the jaw operation waiting for the mouth to gain feeling. That slowed me down a whole lot more than I've readily admitted to myself or anyone else and right now I'm not sure they got it right and right now I'm not sure I'm up for another operation. Maybe I should have stayed with the air pump and bought another camera with the money. I got a call from the sleep clinic today saying I needed to come back and rerun the test as they noticed they hadn't run the part where you wear the CPAP air mask. I explained this was a test after an operation and the surgeon had ordered the test to determine its effectiveness. And I'd already done the air pump. Turned it in some months ago. And I was kind of hoping that was the end of it. Oh. Well, they'd send the results to the surgeon. Today. By FAX. What does that say about the results? What does it mean, Mr. Natural? Means you're fucked, sonny. Next patient.

The walking to work is good, there are toys to entertain me, but there is this suspicion that actual life is occuring somewhere out there if only I had the right glasses and could, well, see, you understand. I'm not thinking novelty anymore, I'm thinking actual engagement. With life. And art. And snapshots.

As a needed aside, I upgraded to PhotoShop 5.5 from 5.0 when I realized they'd combined it with the new Image Ready optimizing program. You have a choice now on the pull down file menu called "save to the web" and that kicks you into Image Ready. The problem is that it seems to darken the images significantly, more so than creating the final image in PhotoShop 5.0 and then popping it into the stand alone Image Ready 1.0. Maybe I'm just hallucinating. I have the Macromedia Fireworks program (the little collab icons were done in it) and I think I'll conduct some trials this weekend. Surf the web for comments. Get me away from the keyboard.

The photographs were taken at the "What It Means To Live in Berkeley" parade.