Archive for October, 2004

More and more

Chapter X in the Least Organised Emigration In The World: I have, I think, finally moved into “ruthless” mode. My bathroom smells of pine. I am bagging and tagging items with little care as to sentimental value, and sweating like a pig would if pigs sweated, which they don't. What needs to go next? Hmm – throw out all the useless cables, I think.

Just in time for my flight tomorrow, my iPod barfed and refused to update from my Powerbook. It would charge fine, just not sync or show up as a drive. So I went through the procedure of resetting it to factory software. Now, I have an iPod which doesn't sync or show up as a drive and doesn't have any music on it. Thanks, Apple, you fuckers. What you didn't count on was me filling all the SD cards I've got with MP3s, to play on my Palm, did you? DID YOU? (Er, that's an hour and a bit of music.)

Right. Back to it. Yeah.

Too busy to know what I'm feeling.

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Some good news for a change

Okay – some actual good news. Instead of having to spend tonight at a hotel or something, I just spoke to the guy who is needing furniture, who actually works here and will be the one clearing the place out when I go, and he says it should be fine to stay in the place tonight – which means I can take the boxes to the post office here on Monday morning, instead of taking taxis down to Centre City today. Plus I have the chance to get some more luggage now! Yay! My compulsive procrastination has not doomed me!

I know you're all hanging on every detail of this.

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Have I finished yet?

Take a wild guess. I have mummified a few boxes of stuff in tape, but not everything. I’m actually running out of usable boxes at the moment, though given the number of bars here it shouldn’t be hard getting more.

I’m just no good at this stuff. I spent most of the afternoon doing nothing. I write a program that I can use to quickly upload files (mostly pictures) to my site by dropping them on the icon. Is that useful? Yeah, it is quite. Is it a useful use of my time at the moment? In no way, shape or form.

There’s something actively pathological about my reaction, when confronted with a pressure situation, of not doing anything about it. There’s a load of stuff that needs doing: I haven’t cancelled my phone service yet, I haven’t got enough luggage, I haven’t cleaned the place, I still have a load of shit that needs moving.

I hate this. I just want to do a Fight Club, blow the whole place up and run away.

At the last minute I decided not to put my penguin ornaments in a box, and instead take them with me in my luggage.

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It's half eleven, I've not finished packing the things I want to ship, and the post office here closes at twelve and doesn't re-open until Monday. Argh. Shit.

I suppose I might be able to take a taxi down to the central post office on 30th Street, which is open until midnight every day. That might take a few trips. I wish I knew somebody round here with a car.

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More life things

I was going to go and buy suitcases, but I stuffed myself in a Japanese restaurant and didn't really feel able to move very far afterwards. Some sort of huge bowl with chicken, egg, seaweed, vegetables and rice – I forget what it was called. So instead I'm going to sit at home and put things in boxes. I called in at the post office and got some customs and insurance forms, all fun stuff. The glamourous life of the international traveller – post offices and packing tape. Next time all I'm taking is my shed and my airship.

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Well, that was most fortunicious. I popped into the rental agency to ask about ways of getting rid of excess furniture, and it just so happened that there was somebody there hanging around whose cousin had just moved into another place here and has no furniture at all. So I said he could come round and take his pick. I'd rather not just throw it out. He can even have the glasses, crockery etc that I don't want.

So that just leaves moving all the non-furniture items that I want to keep. According to the BA website, I can take up to 64kg of checked baggage with me, though how exactly I would get 64kg of baggage to the airport is not explained. In theory though I could get most of my stuff in there, either that or a smallish body in two halves. I will be needing a proper suitcase, though, I think.

Oh, I really need to tell Verizon I won't be needing their services after the end of the month, too, and enquire about taking back the modem… though come to think of it, I could take that with me too, I don't know whether there's any difference between UK and US ADSL modems though.

So. Yeah. Even more election posters on the street today – these seem to be Democratic “get out and vote you little bastards” ones, since they're all about “the youth being heard” etc.

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Dammit. I forgot to record Episode 5 of H2G2 and now I can't get it off their website any more.

I don't suppose anyone has an MP3…?

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Nightmares on TV

Finally got around to watching the first episode of the BBC2 show “The Power Of Nightmares” that I heard so many people on the other side of the pond raving about.

My word. It’s good stuff. It’s also the sort of thing you would never see on US TV, so my American friends who take an interest in politics and history should get downloading. It sets out its central thesis right from the start – that modern governments drastically exaggerate external threats in order to justify their own existence and achieve social control. The first episode is basically a history lesson but with a interesting viewpoint – it looks at the parallel development of radical Islamic ideologies in Egypt, coming from the ideas of Sayyid Qutb, and a worryingly similar ideology in the US called Neo-Conservatism, with Leo Strauss as its inspiration. I don’t think I’ve seen the comparison laid out in quite such detail before; it’s definitely thought-provoking.

I won’t spoil it too much but the “whoa, deja vu” moment for me was when I heard about Neo-Cons in the administration in the ’70s forming a group to compile a report about weapons that the USSR possessed that was utterly false, based entirely on supposition, in complete contrast to the opinions of CIA analysts and designed to inspire fear in the public and the White House. Then again in the ’80s, constructing a theory that all terrorism in the world was actually Soviet-backed, regardless of the fact that much of the evidence claimed for this was actually CIA black propaganda (and the CIA told them as much). Where have I seen this before? You’ll see a lot of familiar names in these endeavours – Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle…. Before I merely thought “these people are clearly talking nonsense in order to manipulate public opinion” based merely on the fact that they were clearly talking nonsense; I didn’t realise that they’d done it all before, and it worked then, too.

Links to .torrent files on Suprnova:

They’re low-quality Realplayer files, but it makes them pretty small, and it’s mostly talking heads, voiceovers and grainy video footage so pin-sharp detail isn’t important.

Edited to add: the immediate impact that watching this had on my position was to make the current administration seem all the more specifically dangerous to me, due to the Neo-Con presence. While I’m a general believer in American foreign policy being something of a continuum, interventionist and aggressive throughout the century and previously, this current faction seems actually driven by a manifest destiny concept and a model of how to manipulate US society, and will not stop. An alternative administration would not have them, though it would doubtless maintain a lot of their ideas, which have become accepted facts both socially and within the system from decades of promotion. Think of it as harm reduction.

There’s also some stuff about the Republican use of religion. The program claims that, before the ’70s and ’80s, most fundamentalists didn’t vote at all, thinking that it was just propping up a corrupt and un-Godly system.

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Wrote this as a response to "what would you have in your shed?"

Over the past few years my personal space has become redefined as “me and my Powerbook”. I don't really have personal areas any more. My physical bodyspace and virtual space is it. I've become more sensitive to people being too close, getting in my way etc, and I'm very sensitive to people fucking with my computer since that constitutes a dwelling-place for me, but as for actual living environments, I'm happy whether I'm in a hotel room or a mansion. As long as I have the freedom to move around so that one particular place doesn't become too oppressive – say, go to a coffee shop with my Powerbook, or sit by the river. I do quite like having non-Power books around though. And plants. My shed would probably therefore have a desk, a wireless router, a mouse, bookshelves, a comfy chair, and lots of plants – hanging baskets, rubber plants, window boxes, ivy up the walls. And big windows, ideally with an ever-changing view… can I put my shed on an airship? Oh, and a minibar.

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Because some of you don't read my quick links

…which you should:

Bush gives the world the finger

Bush giving the world the finger

Cue a million bloggers with iMovie.

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