The 7B2 in Handel Gothic (It is steampunk)

lThat nag of the wristwatch to be real, be present, and to stick by one’s intended boundaries of privacy is more powerful than the nag of the phone. The phone nags differently.

by Woody Evans

@woodyevans

I regarded it, but this little Casio did not regard me as I settled onto the toilet. In that moment, the watch won me over, and now I’m in the analog-gadget bag, big time.

The face is marred at the fifty-six-minute-mark on this black resin Casio MQ24-7B2 wristwatch. It is physical, is analog, it doesn’t quite fit the left wrist right, and I love it. It’s just too small for me except when worn on the last couple of notches, and over the last year I’ve banged it up working in the yard; some third of a millimeter of plastic is gouged out on the southeast or five o’clock side — scraped the fencerow or something, I dunno.

Over this first year, though, it has kept time to within thirty seconds (runs a little fast), and the numerals’ font is a  homogenous mix of the slightly-too-serious and the slightly-sci-fi (in the Handel Gothic family, @greatdismal (aka William Gibson) and his Twitter friends suggest).  It is “water resist.” My son gave it to me last year— unclear why he thought it important, but he turned out to be right.

I love this watch for all of the above particularities, and I love it more than any other wearable bit of tech I own.  I’ve got a few small blades, including a thumb-sized Mad Max looking lockblade that rides on my keychain. I go, too, for a Night Ize first generation DoohicKey, which isn’t exactly a knife, but has a beveled edge which works for most minor box-cutting-type jobs, carabines onto my extant keyrings, and works as a wrench, bottle opener, and a 40 millimeter ruler. I have a small red SanDisk .mp3 player that’s going on 10 years old, but still works great. Then, in my pockets, I have tins and a palmable plastic bottle or two for mints or meds… and, of course, the phone (Samsung Galaxy S4 — glass face replaced last month after a proper shatter on ceramic tile as I leaned into the fridge for beer and it leaned out of my shirt pocket for gravity).

It’s this 7B2 wristwatch, though, that wins my most favor. It’s an analog, single-use tool in a digital world. It is an information age tool (its only job is to generate information) yet its technology comes from the nautical and industrial ages. It is steampunk, as all non-digital watches are, by virtue of its baroque and overwrought (or, just wrought enough, as it happens) escapements and springs running on quartz-modulated electronic oscillation; it simply keeps the time and displays it in high contrast to human eyeballs. It does this quietly and compactly, and, unlike my phone, it never watches me watch it.

This realization is what moved me from the liking to the loving of the watch — and it could, perhaps, have been any of hundreds of other brands or styles.  But it was this little Casio that my kid gave me, this very item, that failed to look back at me as I looked down at it one summer morning before my ablutions.

Time on the toilet is a traditionally private time, and the notion that I could relieve myself without being watched surprised me, and surprised me by surprising me. It immediately pointed to a blind spot I’d carried for some years — playing chess or reading Politico on my phone while in the lav had always meant being observed by the phone I used to play chess or read political news while there. I had learned to ignore that, gotten used to it, made excuses for it, and likely all of the above. Who cares if the NSA or the ISIL wanna look through the peephole to watch you watching your phone, whether on the toilet or on the moon? It becomes a non-meaningful datapoint in trillions of datapoints. Like, who cares already?

But this Casio has taught me better.  It says, in its quiet way, hey man, just pick up that Suetonius, read a page, and get the hell off the pot.  It says I’m not interested, I’m not watching you, I’m just ticking here, generating time.  It says it’s up to you to be on purpose about the time you use.  Have some dignity, for Chrissakes.  Have some comportment.

That nag of the wristwatch to be real, be present, and to stick by one’s intended boundaries of privacy is more powerful than the nag of the phone. The phone nags differently. It wants all of our unique index fingers to stroke its non-unique iteration of conductive glass, and to tap its set of one of many possible but finite sets of downloaded apps. The phone wants attention.  It also looks at us looking at it.

The watch calls me to pay attention to the textural and tactile. The analog watch sends no generic haptic feedback when it reaches the fifteen-second mark, or when the retweets start in earnest. The watch brings new excitement to other carryables, like the mini-flashlight, the penknife, or even the ThumbDrive. One wants to take more care with eyeglasses and their microfiber cloths. We may find ourselves sliding retrograde toward symbols of past gentility — handkerchiefs, snuff boxes — as the hands engage with the eyes in industrial-era objects, totally reproduced and political.  We’re okay with that: Walter Benjamin was onto something about reproduction, and the reproduced things are still more real than the apps that try to obviate them. The tie clip and the pocket protector become redeemed as utilities, un-appable, whereas the spirit level lives now in the cloud.

I can be in the presence of this 7B2, and the watch can be with me as I choose what I do, what I read on the toilet, and what towel to use when I dry my hands.

The watch calls me to notice its subtle, definite, finite ticks as it rides beside a black prayer rope on my wrist.  The prayer rope is there as an aid to be present in the moment — not unlike the watch.  In running my fingers over the knots on the rope, I can warp time or can be warped into noticing weird stuff about time.  The second hand lingers a third too long, then time snaps back, and I’m in the busy mode again: the left-brain standard time zone.  I do, I make, I analyze.  All on time, or in time.

And time’s on my side.  This Casio is on my side.

Woody Evans is a librarian from Southern Mississippi living now in North Texas.  His work appears in Blunderbuss Magazine, Boing Boing, Rain Taxi Review, Teknokulturaand many others.  His bamboo rhizomed this week.

Operation Mindfuck Was Too Successful

Sartre said hell is other people. Now, hell is other people’s tweets or posts.They just irritate the crap out of all of us. The feeling is mutual.”

R.U. Sirius & Douglas Rushkoff in converation

I’m inspired by comments here from Grant Morrison and from John Shirley to share this again. It was previously posted on Medium on May 21

Sartre said hell is other people. Now, hell is other people’s tweets or posts.They just irritate the crap out of all of us. The feeling is mutual.”

On April 5, I was on Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human radio show. We agreed to get the interview transcribed for possible publication somewhere.

I’ve decided that rather than trying to edit a truncated version to pitch to more popular websites, I’m just going to keep it conversational and run it here. Maybe less people will see it, but that’s ok. I get to say what I want.

I’ve added to my own spew as I edited. We hope you enjoy.

DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I came in contact with your work for the first time at a psychedelics conference in Los Angeles. Albert Hoffman and Laura Huxley [Aldous Huxley’s wife] were there. Timothy was there, and I think Ram Das and Ralph Metzner. It was the original psychedelics crowd.

And there were a bunch of issues of your first magazine, High Frontiers. And to me it was like a calling card from the future.

I was in my early 20’s, and your magazine was an amalgamation of everything that I had been interested in yet had never seen connected before: cultural, scientific, biological, cosmic, spiritual, and pharmacological advances, all in one place. How did physics and math and drugs and music and culture and transgender and cultural alchemy all end up considered part of the same strand of cultural information? How did you come up with that?

R.U. SIRIUS: In a way, it just came together in my head. I assumed that there were other people out there like me. Sort of like what Paul Krassner said about starting The Realist at the start of the ’60s. He put it out to meet the other aliens…

So this was a new generation of aliens.

And to me, the generational aspect of it was important. And the cultural aspect of it was important. Because even though I was from a generation that had a lot of hippies and deadheads and so on, we were also the people who created the cultures of punk and new wave. I was in my mid-twenties when all that came along and it was a refreshing blast to my pot-soaked mind.

So I was adapted for a very speedy, hyper, futuristic mentality by that, as well as by scientific ideas and psychedelic ideas and so forth.

And by the time we were doing High Frontiers in the mid-80s, one could clearly see the so-called digital revolution coming on, and one could be fairly optimistic about it… actually, radically over-optimistic. (laughter) So all these things just felt like the makings of a truly contemporary magazine.

DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: High Frontiers really ran the full gamut of hallucinatory experiences. It was a flag in the sand. Leary had said, “Find the others.” And this was saying to a new generation, “Yes, there are others. These are our experiences.”

But then, you turned it into Reality Hackers and eventually Mondo 2000. It became the voice of this 21st century post-television, designer-reality society.

R.U. SIRIUS: Yeah, the Jetsons on DMT, as Mark Dery snarkily labeled it. Read more “Operation Mindfuck Was Too Successful”

OH THE HORROR! WE MAY ACTUALLY NEED FORBIDDEN MODIFICATION OF THE WEB!

 

In any wilderness is beauty and fruitfulness and vicious predators and wandering madmen and disease and flooding and fires and regeneration…

by John Shirley

First, let’s quickly review the scale of the thing: In excess of a billion people are active on Facebook. Every month a hundred million use Instagram. There are three hundred twenty eight million plus monthly users of Twitter. More than half the world’s population is online in some way. Eighty percent of Americans go online. For years now, public school classes have given homework requiring online activity to complete it (indifferent to the fact that some of the poor don’t have steady access to a browser.)

There are more than a billion websites.

That’s not a system, it’s a series of  randomly interlocked systems; it’s not a grand network of self expression. Envisioned in cyberspace, it may look like an endless stochastic city, like a megalopolis of data. But it’s really a kind of wilderness.  In any wilderness is beauty and fruitfulness and vicious predators and wandering madmen and disease and flooding and fires and regeneration… Chaos is beautiful, chaos is necessary, chaos also destroys if it’s not modulated. Read more “OH THE HORROR! WE MAY ACTUALLY NEED FORBIDDEN MODIFICATION OF THE WEB!”

Deeper Into The Magick Grant Morrison Interview Part 2

You wind back into your mother’s womb, she winds back into hers, like branches retreating into buds on a tree and it all goes back in billions of unbroken lines to the first mitochondrial cell dividing in the pre-Cambrian ocean 3 and a half billion years ago.

Interview by Robert Anton Wilson biographer Prop Anon, and Laura Kang, February 2017 in Brooklyn NY

You’ve told us that your take on magick is a little different than RAW’s. Can you explain how it is different? 

GM: Maybe I’m wrong. I think he saw magic  in the Crowleyan, ritual, alien contact sense — as some collision of psychology and quantum weirdness. For me, it’s much more literal and it’s all about emphasizing the transcendent, psychedelic aspects of the ordinary by following logic to its conclusion. Magick for me is all about maintaining a fluid and creative relationship with things as they are.

Simple things, like adding time, or the 4th dimension to the picture can eliminate a lot of apparent psychic phenomena, like clairvoyance, action at a distance, ESP, reincarnation etc. When you add time, you realize fairly quickly that all living things are intrinsically connected as one singular organism. You wind back into your mother’s womb, she winds back into hers, like branches retreating into buds on a tree and it all goes back in billions of unbroken lines to the first mitochondrial cell dividing in the pre-Cambrian ocean 3 and a half billion years ago. It’s no surprise that sometimes people get a sense of other parts of the structure they belong to, or experience “past lives” — those lives are all still happening, all simultaneously.

That same original, immortal cell is still at it, separating inside all of us. Maybe mitochondrial DNA might be what humans have been calling “soul” for centuries. The fact is, we actually do have an immortal indwelling presence living deep inside the perishable structure of our bodies. Maybe mitochondrial DNA has consciousness and when we narrow down on that waveband, we experience the feelings of timelessness and divinity people refer to as a religious experience… Read more “Deeper Into The Magick Grant Morrison Interview Part 2”

White Babbits Trevor Boing & Grace Schtick

Lyrics by R.U. Sirius (based on Grace Slick)

One pill makes you smarter
And one pill makes you small
and the ones that mother gives you
ritalin or adderall
And your phallus
Needs Viagra after all

and if you go fleecing babbits
cause the banks are gonna fall
tell ’em the hookah smoking anarchist
has got you by the balls
call alice — she’s totally appalled
Read more “White Babbits Trevor Boing & Grace Schtick”

Magic Works: An Interview with Grant Morrision Part 1

Given the options, who wouldn’t prefer to be rampaging around in higher planes, interacting with eternal archetypes and pop culture gods?

Interview by Robert Anton Wilson biographer Prop Anon, and Laura Kang, February 2017 in Brooklyn NY

I first encountered Grant Morrison at the Disinfo.com conference of 2000, organized by Disinfo’s founder, media magician, Richard Metzger. As I walked upstairs from the basement hangout zone of NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom, at the beginning of his now legendary lecture, I heard Morrison’s bone-chilling scream into the microphone, which reminded me of another Morrison, and thought “Who the fuck is this guy?’ He then announced that he was drunk and had just eaten some hash and it was about to kick it in, all with a thick Scottish accent. Such punk rock antics won the rapt attention of the wild crowd, myself included, and over the course of the next hour or so, he voiced all the countercultural excitement of the moment. During that cold February day in New York City, Morrison’s message was clear, Magick works, but you should not take his word for it, you have do it yourself to learn how it works. Read more “Magic Works: An Interview with Grant Morrision Part 1”

A Crash Course For The Ravers (an R.U. Sirius Lyrical Conceptual Thingie… with a few links to actual songs)

For my 65th birthday, I decided to indulge myself by sharing some lyrics, some of which have achieved birth as songs and most of which have not.

A Crash Course For The Ravers

Lyrical cycle by R.U. Sirius with a few actual songs attached

Blue Mutant

Once they came from far and wild
From abstract arts to Brooklyn Heights
From P-Funk Village to Rave and Pillage
From Amsterdam by plane or tram

Once my nom de cyber splattered
Minds were blown legacies shattered
Anyone could cast a charm
Dance till dawn sport a 3rd Arm Read more “A Crash Course For The Ravers (an R.U. Sirius Lyrical Conceptual Thingie… with a few links to actual songs)”

From “Freaks In The Machine: MONDO 2000 in 20th Century Tech Culture”

From the MONDO 2000 history book/memoir Freaks In The Machine: MONDO 2000 in 20th Century Tech Culture, yes, still in progress

by R.U. Sirius

Definition Of Vital Terms & Concepts (As Used In The Book)

DMT

The extremely powerful psychedelic drug DMT – Dimethyltryptamine — was a big part of the MONDO weltanschauung, subject to quite a bit of use and even more discussion. DMT is smoked and its effects last about 5-10 minutes. It is arguably the most powerful psychedelic experience, although that is not to be confused with deleriants. Deleriants such as Belladonna (Scopolamine) can take you even further from ordinary reality but the experience generally can’t be remembered and offers no insights or alterations to the imbiber. Read more “From “Freaks In The Machine: MONDO 2000 in 20th Century Tech Culture””

Alternative Facts

by Paul Krassner

Between the choice of a one-man-one-vote (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) and fake news of Weapons of Mass Destruction, invasion of Iraq, and horror of ISIS, George Bush was elected president in the year 2000. It was due to the electoral college (a rigged system which originally intended to prevent slaves from voting and which evolved to gerrymandering), even though Bush’s opponent, Al Gore, won the national popular vote.

Hillary Clinton was elected senator that year, and she announced that the first thing she would do was to get rid of the electoral college. A few years later, as a columnist for the New York Press, I sent her a letter asking about the status of that promise. She didn’t reply. Read more “Alternative Facts”

La Petite Mort: The Death Of Sex

By M.Christian

It’s gonna happen – and probably sooner than you might think.

 

Sure, the idea of it, the basic concept, is frightening to pretty much anyone out there with genitalia … but the fact is that, indeedy, one day sex is going to die.

Now we probably should define what sex actually is.  I’m not going to bore you – and me – by pulling up a dictionary but for the sake of simplicity let’s call sex “sexual pleasure that may, or may not, result in orgasm and/or procreation.”

As I’ve said more than once I’m not frightened of the future: in fact I like to buck the trend of reflexive snark about the coming years, decades, centuries to actually dare to look at what’s coming with hope and excitement – when accepting that “sexual pleasure that may, or may not, result in orgasm and/or procreation” is eventually going bye-bye. Read more “La Petite Mort: The Death Of Sex”