Mindful Cyborgs: Gary Weber Tells Us How to Get Our Minds to Shut the Hell Up

This week Chris Dancy and I talk with Gary Weber, author of Happiness Beyond Thought, about what we can do to quiet our internal chatter — or as Gary calls it, “the blah-blahs.”

Download and Notes: Mindful Cyborgs: Episode 38 – Empirical Emporium Beyond Selfie Blah-Blah PT1

Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s “human-hating horror comic” Nameless

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Entertainment Weekly is running a three page preview of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s forthcoming comic Nameless, which sounds a bit like a return to some of the themes explored in The Filth. Here’s Morrison’s description:

Nameless is my first collaboration with Chris Burnham since we wrapped up our run on Batman and it’s our first no-holds barred horror comic—a disturbing anti-human voyage to the hopeless outer limits of cosmic nihilism and cruelty, in the company of six doomed astronauts on a mission to save our planet from an approaching asteroid. Needless to say, they get far more than they bargained for.

In my superhero comics, I’ve tended to be a cheerleader for the human spirit, but Nameless gives me a rare opportunity to articulate a long-withheld sneering contempt for our miserable species, with its self-serving, sentimental, suicidal self-delusions and its greedy, willful ignorance.

Inspired by the dark side occultism of the Tunnels of Set, by pessimist philosophers like Thomas Ligotti and Ray Brassier, and by our culture’s unstoppable, almost erotic, obsession with its own destruction, Nameless is a light-hearted romp through the sunlit meadows of a baby unicorn’s daydreams!

Not.

Thomas Ligotti and Ray Brassier were, along with Morrison and Alan Moore, key influences on True Detective.

Full Story: Entertainment Weekly: First look: Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s human-hating horror comic ‘Nameless’

Here’s the first of the three pages:

Nameless-01

EW also has a preview of Morrison and Frank Quitely’s take on the Charlton Comics (the inspiration for the Watchmen characters).

See also:

Extinction Aesthetic

Grant Morrison dossier

Mutation Vectors: East Bound But Not Yet Down Edition

Portland-Map

Portland neighborhood map from Home Team Portland

Status Update

We’ve been house hunting. As in, to buy a house.

Nothing quite lays class warfare bare like house hunting. It makes you aware of both your own privilege and knee-jerk prejudices, but also your place in the hierarchy of things as you find out just house much houses in certain parts of town cost — and how much money you actually need to make to live there. (Houses in the Alberta district are going for half a million dollars — who has that kind of money?)

It also makes more clear the less obvious, to me anyway, reasons that certain housing trends perpetuate themselves. For example: in general, buyers of single family homes don’t want to live near renters, or multi-family housing units. Affordable housing buildings are right out. You might not mind living next to an apartment building, but if you lose your job and have to sell your house, will you be able to sell it? Even if you find someone who doesn’t mind living next to an apartment either, that person has to also consider selling it further down the line. Even if you don’t mind living next to an apartment building, and you have a dozen people interested in the house interested in buying your house and also don’t mind, they might still pass on it, worried that if they have to sell it down the line, they won’t be able to find someone who doesn’t mind living next to an apartment building.

So other people’s prejudices and preferences end up influencing your own behavior, reinforcing development patterns in place for decades. Weird stuff.

Anyway, we’re probably gonna land in East Portland (the area east of 82nd ave). I’ve been obsessed with this part of town for a while now, even before I thought we’d end up buying a house there.

I could read stuff about East Portland all day, but here are a few starters:

If you really want to go deep, The Oregonian has an ongoing series on the area. And a couple years ago they did a series on how the Portland area’s subsidized housing has been clustered mostly in East Portland, instead of being distributed throughout the city — even though such clustering is against state law.

The place we’re likely to end up living is quite nice. It has paved roads and sidewalks and grocery stores and access to public transit. But I get worked up thinking about how badly other parts of East Portland got shafted.

Browsing

Listening

Mutation Vectors: Accelerated Brand Engagement Edition

schwa

Browsing

Everyone likes to live in a media bubble, but conservatives even more so. The media bubble that more and more people are choosing, however, is the one created by their favorite brands. That’s right, ‘“content marketing” is eating both journalism and paid advertising. (See also: Amway journalism)

BTW, if you love engaging with brands, then you’ll love Schwa.

Elsewhere, People are still talking about neoreaction. Meanwhile, #healthgoths and net art people are talking about accelerationism. (Thanks to Jay Owens for those last two. She follows this stuff pretty closely.)

My most interesting find of the week came today, though I doubt many others will be interested: East Portland Historical Overview & Historic Preservation Study.

Last week my computer told me that my cat doesn’t love me. Now it says that that my cat thinks I’m a giant unpredictable ape — which is true — but does indeed care about me. I’ll keep you updated, via your computer, what my computer tells me about my cats’ emotions.

Reading

The Peripheral by Wlliam Gibson

The new Great Dismal book, The Peripheral.

Watching

Friday I started rewatching True Detective season one. Tried watching The Strain over the past couple weeks, but ran out of fucks to give it midway through. But Boardwalk Empire just finished its last season ever, so it’s time to watch that.

Listening

Joy Division, like a good miserablist.

Remembering the Max Headroom Incident, One of the Creepiest Hacks Ever

I wrote a bit about the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion for Wired today:

Around 9 o’clock on November 22, 1989, Chicago residents witnessed this epic hack. The evening news sportscast cut out, and a person in a strange mask appeared, dancing around in front of a spinning piece of metal—a rather dark incarnation of Max Headroom, the rather inexplicable character at the heart of the British TV series Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into The Future and two subsequent TV shows. On these shows, Headroom had a tendency to interrupt the broadcasts of the fictional TV station Network 23, but this wasn’t an authorized appearance by the character. It was a real pirate transmission.

After about 30 seconds, WGN’s technicians were able to override the pirate signal. “Well, if you’re wondering what’s happened, so am I,” the station’s sports anchor Dan Roan said when the signal was restored. But two hours later, PBS affiliate station WTTW’s broadcast of Doctor Who was similarly interrupted. This time, the pranksters were able to broadcast their entire video, complete with audio. And what nightmarish audio it was. “Yeah, I think I’m better than Chuck Swirsky!” the infiltrator announced in a high pitched, distorted voice, referring to the Chicago area sports announcer.

Full Story: Remembering the Max Headroom Incident, One of the Creepiest Hacks Ever

Vice Motherboard has the most in-depth look at the incident that I’ve seen, and those looking for something longer than my piece but shorter than the Vice piece should check out Chicago Radio and Media‘s article. And the Chicago Tribune‘s contemporaneous coverage is worth a read too.

Technoccult: The Game

technoccult-screenshot

Eliot Gardepe has released a computer game called Technoccult: Covenant. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with this site, and no I haven’t been in touch with the developer. I found it on Twitter.

I downloaded it, but haven’t had time to play it much, but it appears to be an interactive fiction/adventure game in the Maniac Mansion/Ultima/DejaVu style. (Oddly enough I’ve been thinking it would be fun to work in this medium myself). Oh, and it’s got a drum ‘n bass soundtrack.

Ridley Scott to produce adaptation of Jack Parsons biography for AMC

From Boing Boing:

The colorful life of Jack Parsons as revealed in the biography Strange Angel by George Pendle will appear on AMC in miniseries form, according to a Deadline report. Ridley Scott and David Zucker will executive produce the series, which will be written by Mark Heyman (Skeleton Twins, Black Swan).

Full Story: Boing Boing: Ridley Scott to produce miniseries on rocket scientist, occultist Jack Parsons

Previously:

Jack Parsons web comic

Make Magazine feature on Parsons

Stage play about Parsons

Audio play about Parsons

The Collected Writings of Jack Parsons

Mutation Vectors: Double Dose of Doom Edition

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Status Update

Feeling exceptionally bitter this afternoon, and since I missed last week, you get a double-dose of doom this time around.

Browsing

Lots of good writing about GamerGate and trolling since last I posted:

And at least a couple answers to the question of what to do about it:

I don’t know really know what this and this are satirizing, but I found them funny anyway.

In local news: Oregon’s governor is corrupt and/or incompetent, but the Willamette Week makes a strong case that he’s still better than the alternative. Meanwhile, Rick Turoczy points out that Portland is becoming a marketing technology hub. Which makes sense since Webtrends is our one big tech startup success story (since SurveyMonkey moved away and Jive, which also moved, isn’t necessarily a success), and Wieden + Kennedy is a real anchor-company for the city. It also occurs to me that thinking of Portland as an ad agency town helps explain much of the city’s transformation over the past few years. Elsewhere, The Baffler editor John Summers said “When you’re in Portland and you don’t own your own house—if they’re bringing in tech people, you should just pack your bags.” And it’s not just tech bros coming. It’s ad tech bros. *shudder*

Meanwhile:

Oh, and the Washington Post reports that the Siberian Mystery Crater might have been created by thawing methane gas, and if that’s the case then we’re proper fucked.

A lot of people like this piece where Quinn Norton tries to find some hope in a doomed world, but I’m sorry, I just couldn’t get through it. But maybe you’ll find some comfort there? If not, perhaps Drunk Jeff Goldblum will cheer you up:

Watching

I rewatched Funky Forest and it gets better with every viewing. It’s pure mad genius. No, it doesn’t make any more narrative sense on rewatching, but it starts to make its own sort of internal sense, the way the most absurd of dreams make sense while you’re dreaming them.

Reading

The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things by Bruce Sterling

Listening

But I feel like I’m about to go through another doom metal phase.

Google Maps face blurring algorithms also blur the faces of statues

shiva

buddha

Many more pictures here

(Thanks Emily Dare)

Interview with critic and psychoanalyst Mikita Brottman about the terrors of reading

Mark Dery talks with Mikita Brottman, author of The Solitary Vice: Against Reading:

I live in an old hotel, and I’ve recently been researching old newspaper items about the suicides that happened here, and the notes people left. However brief, I find them infinitely suggestive. They’re little vignettes of private tragedy, windows onto the changing century. They contain snippets of peripheral history—the introduction of automobiles, the development of telegraph and telephones, the advent of Great Depression, the injustice of segregation, and the changing nature of the hotel trade. There are also insinuations about social class, alienated parents, sons with too much money, businessmen suffering from existential ennui. There’s a sense of nostalgia in these little case studies as well—of a Baltimore that was both genteel and bohemian, whose kings were society men, tobacco lords and bootleg emperors. Another interesting feature of these vignettes is their reliable supporting cast, consisting of desk clerks, bellboys, maids, doctors and coroners. I find the suicide notes especially touching, with their polite, self-deprecating apologies, often expressing regret to the hotel staff for the necessary cleanup job.

Full Story: Boing Boing: Solitary Vices: Mikita Brottman on the Books in Her Life

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