Fri May 21 1999 07:27:
I don't like cyberpunk. Really, at all. Cyberpunk and anime are where
my cultural tastes deviate widely from the majority of computer
geekdom. I'm not really sure what it is. I don't mind the dystopian futures;
but when it's dystopian futures that just ain't going to happen,
presented with the intense urgency that all works of cyberpunk must
posess, it puts me off my lunch. To my way of thinking, the best dystopian futures remain
those of 1984 and Brave New World. Both are far
more real to me than anything cyberpunk has dredged up.
(Tangentially speaking of dystopian futures, the Crest in Westwood
was showing Dr. Strangelove as part of a film festival, and
I intended to go see it on the big screen, but its run was limited to about two days,
it being a film festival and all, and I missed it.
BUT, I like to think of myself as someone who is open to
new experiences, and everyone and their brother nowadays is praising
Neal Stephenson to the skies, because of the supposed mightiness of
his new book, Cryptonomicon, and I happen to have a copy of
his older book, Snow Crash, accessible, so last night I started
I'm on page 300 now, and I'm getting to the point where I want to
just stop. The plot is okay, and there are characters I care about,
but it's getting more and more difficult to keep trudging through
all the inane pseudoprescience. I'm sure it's not Neal Stephenson's
fault. He's a good writer, but when you write cyberpunk, you have to
put in this stuff. It's a union regulation or something.
But look how open-minded I am: I still plan to read Cryptonomicon,
because Neal Stephenson is a good writer, and Cryptonomicon takes place in
the past and in the present, which will obviate much of
what I find annoying about cyberpunk. I also am planning to eventually read
The Difference Engine, which takes place in an alternate past.
But don't bring your CyberspaceTM here. Nuh-uh. That's not
There are about 150 pages of Snow Crash left, so I'll
finish it. I always feel compelled to finish every book I start.
Except for The Good Soldier Sjvek, much better than Snow
Crash and just as jarringly dystopian, which for some reason has
remained half-read on my bookshelf for three years.
Fri May 21 1999 07:37:
Also, here are two good brain short stories: a description of the
destruction of someone's mental facilities as their brain is eaten away by
a virus or parasite, and a similar description, except the agent is
malicious, possibly a little nano-robot, and intends to really screw
you over by retaining your consciousness as long as possible. One
or both stories may be feasible; if only one, then the second one is
better (the first one exists only to provide contrast, I
think). I'm no good at writing fiction, so you can do what you want
with these ideas.
I have to remember to get napkins when I buy my breakfast muffin.
I keep forgetting and end up with sticky muffin fingers and covered
in muffin fragments. Zappa would not approve.
Fri May 21 1999 07:45:
As long as I'm adding NYCB entries, Jake thinks that my jokes (see
some previous entry or other for this month) should remain unsolved.
Thus is born a new kind of joke, funny not because they make some
kind of twisted comparison, but because they are, on another level,
a joke schema for such jokes. In this way, comparisons so
twisted that they cannot be used in first-order jokes at all (because
nothing fits) can be appreciated as second-order humor.
Jake was also disappointed by The Phantom Menace, as he
fully expected to be. I understand where he's coming from, but mantain
that it rocked me like a medium-grade hurricane.
My word for today is "schema". Schema schema schema schema!
I'm a schema, baby, I'm a dreama.
Fri May 21 1999 10:00:
I just swiped two Apple boxes from the dumpster. Not computers,
but literal boxes. One is for a G3, and the other (which is the one
that caught my eye) is for a "Studio Display", which looks to be
the thing for which the iMac is the pupal stage. It's not as long as
the iMac, and has legs. The picture on the side of the box is huge
and menacing, and I plan to cut it out and use it for something.
But right now, the boxes are just taking up space in Peter's office.
Crafty bastards, those folks at Apple. They make you agree to their
software licensing agreements before you can even use the computer.
Good thing they don't have a monopoly or anything.
Fri May 21 1999 11:19:
I can't wait to get home. I haven't been home since Wednesday morning,
and my hair is really icky.
Campbell doesn't like cyberpunk either.