Archive for weird projects

Tuva or Bust: A Richard Feynman Adventure

Posted in interesting things that caught my attention, people to watch for, random, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 04/01/2012 by alex c

Trading Post °1: Axe to Vox

Posted in essays, music, The Trading Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/24/2012 by alex c

This is the first installment of The Trading Post, what hopefully becomes an ongoing series in which I trade albums with fellow writer friends and then we proceed to dance about the architecture with which we’re presented. This project stems from the many discussions through which it became undeniably clear that my musical tastes are vastly different than most of my literary friends; I thought it would be fun and enlightening for us to both share what we love with while hearing new music we might not otherwise encounter. Though there will likely be a decent amount of hating on stuff (from myself at least), that’s not the point at all. Rather, much like my encounter Lynne Tillman’s novel American Genius: A Comedy, I appreciate wrestling with work with which I don’t have an immediate affinity and then trying to understand why I might hate it so much while also recognizing important qualities such a work may possess. Having said all that, these aren’t going to be deep analyses, either, merely thoughtful reactions or something along those lines. I guess we’ll see what happens and that’s part of the fun!

For this first installment, Seth Graves decided on a simple trade based on vocals and guitar. He gave me albums by Why?, Danielson and Destroyer. In return I made him listen to albums by Gorguts, Krallice and Vektor. We’ll start with Seth’s responses because I flipped an imaginary coin and won the toss. Follow us after the jump!

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Bowerbird #30: Soft Robot Dope Magnet

Posted in Bowerbird, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , on 12/19/2011 by alex c

We can’t help but think about what other people are thinking about. It seems the more boring our lives become, the more we seek the flat yet palpable experience of film. The fact is: We won’t free ourselves from a dysfunctional and unfair economic order until we begin to see ourselves as communities, not commodities. If one embraces an atheist worldview, it necessarily requires embracing, even celebrating, one’s insignificance. Independent thought, originality, has to be its own reward, because normative history offers revolutionaries the reward of oblivion or villainy. Our distant ancestors were explorers and inventors, and we owe it to them to continue their legacy, not wallow in the mundane minutia of post-industrial life, trapped under the heel of bureaucrats bereft of any vision or sense of wonder. So often we wake up at 25 and realize ‘adults’ really have no idea what they are doing, no matter how confident they seem when preaching tenuously built ideologies which seem infallible to a child and dull their willingness to be awed and inspired by the discoveries of science. It’s just the idea of the thing that puts people off. A lot of people thought the sense of self was hard-wired, but it’s not at all. Even with a map, some people manage to get lost. Nature generally goes for the simplest and most robust solution. We’re still scanning the skies, and may yet see another event like this.

Bowerbird #29: Twenty Hertz Thousand Hurts

Posted in Bowerbird, poetry, the universe will wreck you, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 11/29/2011 by alex c

20 Hz from Semiconductor on Vimeo.


Sometimes it is difficult to ask a question when the reward of silence has just commenced. La douleur exquise gets at the emotional heartache, specifically, of being the one whose love is unreciprocated. We can take a punch. We might have a sensation of a unified integrated consciousness, but it’s actually individual sensations popping up with whatever you’re particularly conscious of in one moment. Value’s just what relationships are built through sequence, through temporal distribution. Yet there is a timelessness to this event. And it’s interesting to think that somewhere out there, light years away, a lonely, dark, and slowly freezing planet may be bulleting through the galaxy. A good theory rules explanations in and out, and if it rules out the wrong explanation that will become clear over time as you pursue your theory guided research. The larger lesson is that the brain is a neural tangle of near infinite possibility, which means that it spends a lot of time and energy choosing what not to notice. It’s not a perfect measure, but it gives you an idea.

(h/t to Sciencepunk for that video, which should be watched full screen)

Bowerbird #28: Continuous Sensible Party Time

Posted in Bowerbird, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , on 11/10/2011 by alex c

We humans have evolved inside a complex, fractal, structurally hierarchical environment, so that our neurophysiology responds positively to and receives sensory pleasure from natural environments. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world. The exact same parts of the brain that light up when we’re in physical pain go haywire when we experience rejection. Ennui is a cognitive gift, but it must be properly unlocked. Only intelligent animals play—animals like crows and chimps, dogs and humans. If I had been living somewhere else, I could have been someone else. And thus began a tiny rebellion. Nature loves chaos when it pushes systems toward equilibrium, and geeks call this universal property entropy. There are causes we will never know about and sometimes it’s better to live with the ambiguity. They’ve also withstood the test of time.

Bowerbird #27: Glints Collide Does Time

Posted in Bowerbird, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11/01/2011 by alex c

Because we are social animals, our memory of the past is constantly being revised to fit social pressures. Humans can’t help having their preconceived beliefs take precedence over the facts. When people face an uncertain situation, they don’t carefully evaluate the information or look up relevant statistics. I’m not sure what kind of conventionality is being invoked, but I don’t want any part of it.

Our brain continuously constructs our sense of self using information from our eyes, skin and joints. Like I said, insanely cool. But the story does not end here. We need a way to try to access emotions in comatose and vegetative states. Confidence is a strange thing, and once you’re fed on a decent dose of it, lots of unusual things can happen. It will expose everything you’ve mastered and everything you’re scared of. The only way to survive is to believe that you really are good enough. What makes you so special?

Bowerbird #26: Accelerating Universe Static Cling

Posted in Bowerbird, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , on 10/19/2011 by alex c

We don’t call the rainbow the red spectrum. The truth is much, much more complex, and in my view, interesting. When we look far away, we are looking into the past, and that past doesn’t stretch forever. If you go to an abandoned orchard and lie on your stomach under a tree for a week, watching which insects land on a peach and move to another one you will know more about this fungus than anyone in the world. Put another way, the more we learn, the more we realize there is to know, and the more we have to go back and revise our earlier understandings.

So really, if you think about it, we are the result of the Universe’s laws made incarnate, evolved to the point where we can study ourselves. This is the definition of self-loathing. Without an obvious outside reward you create an internal one. We need questions. The envelope is continually being pushed, and in some cases, ripped to shreds. Everything counts and everything belongs to a poet, belongs in a poem. I never know what I’m talking about. At the end of the day you just have to follow your heart, even as cheesy as that sounds.


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