apples and lemons

Any Mac that breaks down after three years would rightly be considered a lemon. But apparently, that's exactly what original iMacs do. Sure, mine waited almost four and a half years to do it, but the result was the same; dead iMac.

It started about three weeks ago, very occasionally I would hear an electrical arcing noise from somewhere within my Mac. As much as I love the design of the iMac, it doesn't make for easy troubleshooting, and all my efforts to crane over the back and get the actual location of this arcing were in vain. It was so intermittent, you see. Each spark made the screen jump a little, a thin streak of un-screen for just a fraction of a second, then everything normal, until the next spark. I knew that whatever it was, it wasn't a "good" thing. And I knew it would get worse before it got better.

As an old friend of mine, a mechanic (who's formula one career was cut tragically short by a job-offer he couldn't refuse), used to say, "just let it develop". So I did. And about two weeks ago the arcing sparking sound was starting to get fairly regular. I noticed too that it happened more often when the room was very warm it. Heat-related. Hmmm.

Last weekend the arcing sounds started to join up, into 'crackling', which is altogether another level of scary noise. Somehow I did know, as I put my mac to sleep on Friday night and headed for bed, that would be the last time I would see its happy smiley face. The next morning, my worst fears were realised.

that's right. it's been a couple of months since the thought first appeared in my mind. I'd been living inside BBEdit for a few days when it occurred to me; "what would I do if my Mac broke down?" I remember catching my breath and putting it out of my mind. There's a few machines here, Linux boxes, peecees, but for some work, certain creative work, you need a mac. Mac users know exactly what I mean. No one else can argue about that.

I banged the mousemat, a morning ritual, and woke up all the desktop machines. The mac made a weird buzzing-crack sound and promptly rebooted. Not a good sign. After the familiar "chime" (gawd! I love that noise!) a few seconds of self-checking and stuff, it did it again. I reckoned, right at the point that the screen was about to power up. And then again. And again. Oh shite!

I made an audio recording of this cycle. I planned to let eminent online hardware specialists hear it.

My first thought was "the power board". it's the first place I expect to find things that spark, transformers and what-not. I disassembled my mac.

This is no simple task, as anyone that has opened an iMac will tell you. The design is so tight, it's like aliens did it. Even having a wire lolling the wrong way will mean you won't get it back together again. Armed with a screwdriver and a space on the desk to lay the screws in a rough mirror of their original locations (which would, days later, be strewn with manuals and components, and cups, and papers, and that mirror idea reduced to a "pile of screws", och well), and a large cup of coffee, I set to work..

I imagined that if something had been sparking for a fortnight, it's gonna be easy to spot. Sparking leaves scorch marks. Find the mark, replace the part. No problem. Problem; no marks. Damn!

A few components did look a bit on the charred side, and I removed them, one at a time, tested them (ok, ok, ok, ok, damn!) and put them back. I investigated the analog board in a similar way with similar results, although I didn't remove that. Ever since I pulled the HT lead out of an old twenty-six inch television as a kid, got thrown all the way across the room, and blew up the telly in the process; I've got the heebie-jeebies just thinking about that big red sucker thing.

Well, if I couldn't locate the component, looks like I was going to have to replace the whole board. This would cost more. I googled a bit. First stop, welovemacs, for a replacement power board. I guess one hundred and fifty bucks, plus shipping ain't too bad. If it really was the power board that was faulty. The analog board is even dearer! What I really needed first was better advice. I decided to try a little closer to home.

Sadly, in the north of Scotland, Mac dealers are fairly thin on the ground. The beige days just killed the scene up here, and it never really picked up again. The department stores stock them now, great prices, useless support. I made a few calls. What I really wanted to know was, which board needs replaced. Surely some hardware tech dude would listen to the symptoms, dig my MP3, and know exactly what needed fixing. The more calls I made, the grimmer the whole story became..

It was definitely the analog board. That would mean pulling out the big red plug thing. Oh yes, apparently there was a design "foible" with the original iMacs, very common it is sir. Damn! And quite possibly the power board will be fried too. To cut a long story short, I was looking at a four hundred pound repair, and I would first have to send apple my old boards. What?

I had another coffee. At times like this it's always wise to have a break, take stock, and seek a little guidance. I had the disassembled iMac face down on a stool in the middle of my workshop, and so it seemed natural enough to pace around the thing, look at it from all angles, and ask it a few questions. Pretty soon I got to..

 "what if I unplugged all the video stuff, will you power up then?" This was a good question. I pulled the plugs that connected the video board and CRT, slammed in the mains..

Tada! The Mac booted fine. Of course I couldn't see anything, but it came alive on my LAN and allowed me to grab some data off the hard drive, like my 200MB Entourage email database. (does anyone know how to import that into anything else?). So all was not lost. Generally I don't keep data on my Mac, "just a workstation" I tell people. But when your workstation disappears, it's amazing how much data you miss!

I wasn't going to believe that the "part" of the power board that supplies the video board was broken, I'd already pulled enough components off that to know it was in great shape, and it was powering all the mac-bits just fine. But the video board was definitely not right.

I played around with external monitors for a while, trying out that old mac-to-peecee video adaptor from my IIsi. No joy, though I did get a weird scrambled, overscanned image of my aqua desktop. Not much use for anything except giving a false sense of hope. I even considered getting a nice video adaptor and putting the "Mac" parts of my iMac into some sort of other case. But none of these ideas really sat well in my brain. In the end, it looked like I was gonna have to cough up a couple of hundred bucks and get a replacement analog board. I searched for suppliers, toyed with customisation ideas.

A few days passed. Fortunately it was an uber-busy week, so they passed real quick. I got a chance to work on some things I'd been neglecting, songs. Other stuff I didn't need a mac for. I moved some tasks to the peecee, others to the Linux server, and generally got on with it. I didn't have much time to wail and moan, though searching that entourage database for text brought me pretty close.

I was midway through my Nth Thursday evening coffee when it occurred to me that someone else "out there" must surely have stood right here. After all, the dealers told me it was a "common problem" Someone must have a better solution, I thought. I'd already spent a good few hours in the usual mac IRC channels looking for wisdom, but getting idiocy in return, as often happens on IRC. But I'm ever confident that all the information we need is out there somewhere, if only we can locate it. I googled again; this time looking for humans, peppering my search queries with words like "frazzled" and "crackled", the kinds of words that humans use.

Bingo!

It didn't take long to find this page, which describes the deadness of my iMac to a Tee! And what? it's just the flyback Transformer?? Awa! I punched nikko electronics into my browser and homed in on the exact part. W00H00! £24 + P&P. That'll do me! And I ordered the part first thing Friday morning. (they do an "original" part too, by the way, if you like branded stuff inside and out)

The part arrived the Saturday morning, 7.30am. By 8am I was standing next to my possibly-fixed mac with a power cord in one hand, the other visibly shaking; the acid test. I plugged it in.. Chime! .. w00h00! .. then nothing. Damn! But at least it didn't reboot, a good sign. Hmmm.

Then I remembered the article, and those wee "screen" and "focus" adjustments on the flyback transformer. Donning my safety goggles and electrically insulated gloves (yeah yeah) I slammed a screwdriver into the thing and gave it a twist.

Wo0Ho0!

And there it was! My login Screen! To say I was smiling at this point would be vast understatement. My smile had forced my ears up onto the top of my head where they wiggled and touched each other. Happy Maccer I was, am.

So here I am! Back on my Mac, enjoying Aqua, getting back to work, and wondering, in the tally of it all, if this event was really such a "bad" thing. it's been a great learning experience, not just the tech, though that was enlightening enough, but the real stuff; how easily we do presume; how information is cash-valuable; how even some mac folks are motivated purely by profit; how it really doesn't matter which screws you use, so long as they are tight; and the big question..

What would I do if my mac broke down?

Answer: Get on with life, and fix the mac.

;o) Cor

interesting times..

There's only so much information you can take in a day, so many minutes. it's weird I know, but when I found out that I'll probably have no broadband for at least a fortnight while my service is migrated, well, a part of me did sigh with relief, like my brain might get a bit of a rest.

I blame tabbed browsers. Yeah, I know, I was all religious about tabbed-browsing back when it was little more than a cool idea, but I do wonder if maybe we've created a monster. One capable of inflicting critical information overload. Alvin Toffler never saw this coming, just as well, he'd have had a heart attack. (apologies to Alvin's family if he's dead, especially if it was a heart attack.)

Beware the hyper-links!
All this data is just too tempting, I want more. And with tabs I don't have to sacrafice a damn thing! Not a window, not even some screen real-estate; with one simple modifier I can have my cake and eat it too! I am at one with the web!

Picture it; three puter screens, three browsers, one hundred and thirty tabs. What am I playing at? Am I trying to fit the whole lot in my brain at once? I ask, skitting between a group of Fast TCP tabs, and another; ancient herbal cures, one minute knowing more about the fascinating artificial diamonds more perfect than the real thing and the next; wait a minute-

okay, *phew* he's alive! seventy five! Good on ye mate! Where was I?

Oh yeah! that's the point, innit? it's no problem to keep track of where you are with only one or two documents,
will probably be SEX
but the task becomes considerably more difficult when it's thirty, or one hundred and thirty. And what about when the theoretical limits are removed, and we're all running G7 cheese-graters with nano self-assembly parallel processing infiniband OC-connected woofer-puters? There's a certain unmapped mental logistics being worked out here, some kind of evolution going on in our brains. Apparently we can only keep seven thoughts in our noggin at any one time (don't ask me where I heard that, quite possibly a dream, maybe just made it up) and one of those will probably be sex, so if that's the case, anything over six tabs is a waste, isn't it?

Maybe not. Maybe I'm looking at my browser all squint-like. Maybe human brains like to do that, to skip about like that, like that valuable first flick of a book, evolved to a process. Dancing, as thoughts enjoy. Perhaps using the browser itself as a sort of massive living library is a Very Good Thing. With decent navigation, the whole kaboodle becomes a researchers wet-dream. Why bother to save documents? Or congest the net with downloading them again? Just leave them open for the length of the project! Leave them open forever! When the pages aren't going anywhere, There's no longer that same rush to read 'em. Instead of having one or two unfinished projects, tabs allow you to have umpteen!

But doesn't that defeat the purpose of the web itself? The data is *out there*, barring web server failure and page death, surely all we need to know is the location. Perhaps what's really needed is some decent cross-platform shortcut storage system that allows real, intelligent, drag-and-drop, auto-catagory-sorting (read the bloody page, you'll see where the link should fit!)and most importantly, retrieval of links. It would run as a server, probably on your local linux box. Being able to recall the last state of every client browser would be a useful attribute.

No, Let's Blame the Crashing!
This would solve another real-world problem; the browser crash. Something especially dreadful (yes, I mean its original sense) for folks like me fond of shakey, in-progress developer beta-builds of their favourite browser. Sure you could have camino running for a week or two on OS X, but on day fifteen, or sixteen, or whenever, some page, some crazy widget, or dodgy html, whatever, something will knock something else, and BANG! no more browser, all those pages vanished into the dataspere, like tears in rain...

Blade Runner! That was tabs eleven through seventeen, or thereabouts. Fortunately I'd earlier switched the film research stuff over to fastbrowser, which has the supremely useful ability to remember all the tabs you had open before the inevitable happened. Very neat, and so simple to implement (are you listening camino team?) erm.

I'd like to see the process of browsing and the process of remembering made completely seperate. With web standards changing so rapidly, and browsers continually developing to keep up, iThink it's about time we looked into this.

iRemember maybe. iLink. iURL. Hmm maybe not. Oh come on! you can do better than that! Point is, I don't want to have to think about my history, I just want it to be there, like the past should be, not wiped like dreams get. Why isn't iRemember watching my browsing? Why isn't it learning from my habits? Bookmarking automatically. Why doesn't it exist? The history button is dead! Long live my History!

Longevity; everything seems to suffer from it. And I guess web browsing itself is no different. I imagine that the web will get 3D on us soon enough, and we might even find ourselves plugging in Neuromancer-style, feeding on the raw data, being there, rather than just downloading pieces of there to here, for our inspection. But before that happens, I wager we not only need to (obviously) develop superior technologies, but superior brains, too.

In the same way kids' hypertune their reflex responses playing computer games, tune their nervous systems for speed, so too we mortal surfers will need to train these spongy brains for the data onslaught that is coming. Is here. We'll need to be able to cope somehow.

Information is coming down the pipe.
it's here! Already, it's here!
Where did the pipe go today?

The tabbed browser must surely be one of our most valuable tools at this stage of our evolution. As crucial as mosaic or Netscape one, it has changed the way we work the web. How we work with the information. Some online tasks would be unthinkable without tabs. From a recent underground article..

The stakes are high. in the "clubhouse", a secret members-only forum for hunters at aminaked.com, the site that cunningly leverages the power of a simple database, some cute web-coding, and the raw thirst of the average porn gatherer. Surfers browse, add their own links. Some add waaay more links than others and the league table is fiercely contested, competition for the hotest new backdoors is tight. The table is every hunter's homepage..

 "After aminaked.com, that is", chuckles mr.underperson, a regular top-spot hunter and "hot seat" record-holder, a daily goal.

 "Even before I got broadband I could hit the top-three every day. it's just a question of having a good system.

 "I use three puters here, a Linux fileserver running Samba. Everything comes in and out of there. If I need to delete stuff, that's where I do it. The bulk of the batch downloading is done on a Win2K machine, FlashGet, of course, links provided by Fastbrowser running 24-50 tabs. The real hunting happens on my OS X box, running Camino. Tabs are essential, There's no way you could process this much porn without tabs.

 "Does anyone pay you for this?"

 "Nah! Though I know a couple of the guys run cams while they hunt. After all, you're going to be pulling that thing for hours, why not make a few bucks in the process?"

 "So you're just a bunch of Wankers then?"

 He laughs, "Yup, that's about the size of it!"


Clearly Tabbed browsing is a revolution in more ways than one.

Of course, it's possible that this urge to pour information into this brain storage space of mine is no more than a simple human addiction, the desire for the new. feed me! feed me new!! feed me now!!! For a simple monthly fee I can have all the information I need. My ISP, really, is my dealer.

Or maybe it's deeper than that, some primal need to reach out and touch other ideas and concepts, spark distant connexions with data and people, make new combinations, alchemy of information. For sure, all over the desktops and workstations this process of connecting and choosing and distilling and creating gathers momentum, all over the world.

we are the hunter gatherers.
information. no basket, no farm nor field
that is not data.

Is this part of an even greater evolution? Connecting up all knowing, all mankind's thoughts and ideas, as if at last we might share this big knowledge of ours freely, all seeing all, enriching our brothers and sisters beyond imaginings, evolving beyond our brains. Beyond the possible. Are we taking some collective leap forward here?

More data equals more possibility. Like fooling with your big brother's electronics set, wondering; what happens when I connect this point to this? With infinite points and infinte possibilities, imagination becomes the only limit. The materials follow after, as ever. it's the big mix now, the big mind-blender. So we mix this cool technology with that? and what happens?

DNA Self-Assembled Nano-Transistors

What?

I gotta ease up on the tabs.

;o) Cor

how to get the flu

I remember the first time I got "the flu".

I was seventeen, at college. As well as the usual workload that entails, I held down two jobs, one early morning and one in the evening. My social life was fairly crazy too. Sleep was something I caught here and there, at best. Yet these factors alone were not enough to make my body susceptible to passing virii.

It was a girl, the straw that broke the camel's back.

Or rather, it was my relationship with that girl. Not entirely healthy, but that's another story. The virus hit me around teatime on a Thursday, and stayed almost exactly two days. I spent that time in my bed, tossing and turning, moaning and sweating, and hallucinating. At least that's how most folks would classify the visions.

The most memorable was that of being in control of the entire physical world. No trivial thing. I recall staring at my little finger and realising at that point, that by just the slightest movement, I could pull the whole physical world inside out.

I wiggled my little finger.

There was a rising, rushing sound, quickly louder than my ears could bear. I screamed and it began, like bathwater sucked through a plughole by the immense unstoppable forces of gravity. The world started to buckle and twist and touch itself at all points, a twister! that's the best way I can describe it; a multicoloured twister, a screaming cacophony of all known sounds, shapes and colours spiralling together, and my wee finger the pivot, the plughole.

I attempted to guide the motion, to stop it altogether, but it was useless, once started. Very soon, I realised, I too would be sucked through this awesome vortex. And sure enough, a few seconds later, that's exactly what happened.

When I came out the other side, everything seemed pretty much the way it had been before. But then, not quite. The things around me were brighter, sharper, as if the process had cleared something away, something that clouded the world and made it dim before. The room seemed more colourful now (and teenage goth bedsits aren't exactly known for their bright decor). My roommate's music danced over the surfaces like waves of living things, bass guitar jumping madly about the floor, high-hats dancing like fireflies around the ceiling, and everything in between, the space of the room, filled with solid living music. "Is this what Acid is like?" I mused. Seeing sounds wasn't normal, I knew that much.

Within the hour I was well again, smoking cigarettes and remarking how they no longer tasted like burnt rubber.

Something had changed.
I left town shortly after that.

The second time I got "the flu" was less chaotic. The precursors were almost identical; a few weeks of mindless eating, some big stressful situations, too much work, lack of sleep.. But this time, when it hit, I was prepared. I knew fine what was going on. I've learned that when we neglect to take the time to consider certain things, deal with them, then that time is arranged for us. Cause and effect, you might say. It was time to meet my healer. And this time I had my questions prepared.

We met in an old barn I used to play in as a child, seemed like as good a place as any. He was waiting for me. I sat at the other side of the fire, welcoming its warmth and light, being almost naked.

 "Why am I here?"

 "You are unhappy with your life, you needed it to stop for a bit."

I hadn't been expecting that. I'd imagined my life at the time to be running pretty well. The band was going from strength to strength, I had a loving partner, plenty money, was super-popular, all was well, wasn't it?

 "I'm enjoying life, I'm having a lot of fun."

 "You took this life solely for fun?"

Sure, by my mid twenties I'd well considered the reasons for my existence, this lifetime, even as a small child I pondered that. But it was all going so well, this is what I wanted wasn't it?

 "No, but fun is important!", I spluttered.

He chuckles at this and throws more wood on the fire. "Aye, it is that. But surely not THE most important thing."

 "So what is?", I asked, trying to hold his gaze.

 "You already know the answer to that." he stated, matter-of-fact like, looking straight through me; which I realised was what I had been trying to prevent him from doing. "How long, you think, until it falls apart?"

I couldn't speak then. I just nodded. I'd long suspected the band was some childish desire for fame and attention that I had been playing out, my vanity let loose and given wings, and a license to fly. But it had all come together so easily, almost like it was "meant to be". I hadn't stopped to consider that easy isn't always best.

 "But the people enjoy it!". He laughed wildly at this, and I realised then that there is no human act beyond justification, There's always an excuse.

 "Yes, and they enjoy Soap Operas too! Do you plan to do soap operas?" I don't like soap operas, he must have known this, being a part of me.

 "No!"

 "Maybe you already are."

 "Fuck you! I can do what I want!"

 "Yes, after you know what it is that you want"

He was right. I'd stopped thinking along these lines a year or more earlier. Stopped asking if this was what I really wanted for my life, and just let the fun take over. With enough fun going on, you can forget even the most pressing questions.

 "This is a warning, no more. A time set aside for you to consider in. Use it!" he spat the words and stood up to leave. I never did like taking orders, even from myself, and just shook my head. He turned and stared deep into my eyes.

 "Do you really believe that songs can change the world?"

 "No." Truth is, I didn't. I'd lost faith in the songs. "The Band" had become more important to me now.

 "Then it looks like I'll be seeing you again then, perhaps sooner than you think". He smiled and left. The fire died then.

A month later, after a particularly unfortunate sledging accident, I found myself in hospital with a broken back, and a much longer time to "consider things". that's what happens when you don't take your own breaks.

You think I would have learned by now.

My first flu brought about a change of mind. And that, of course, is all it takes to effect a change in reality, in one's life. I realised that the world I knew before had been a shadow of the real, and not some textbook or grimoire telling, for sure I'd seen enough of those, but in the realest sense, by experiencing it, first hand. You really can turn the whole world inside out.

My second flu I kinda ignored. And then wished I hadn't. Breaking my back did it though. I gave up "The Band" and concentrated on the songs. Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be; family is better. Hell, even flu is better!

And that is where I've spent the last two days. In bed, sweating, moaning, and hallucinating; my third flu. It perhaps also explains why this blog entry is such a mess, I'm still not quite back to normal yet.

I suspect I never will be.

;o) Cor

moving..

It started early, I mean in realtime.

We'd hired a van for the day, a big Luton, the idea being to cram the entire contents of the house into this thing, move in one go. It was an exchange you see, timing is critical.

I decided to start my weekend on Friday, this way I could do it in my freetime and generally take it easy. It ended up being a lesuirely day, and that original plan so very very nearly got real. Trip two involved no more than a few items for the tip, and a desk. Yes, no one spotted the desk, it's only six feet after all, a computer desk.

Even rush hour on trip two didn't phase me, coltrane on the radio, koop, my brother-in-law leaving his phone behind, a rare thing, so the calls weren't our concern. It ended in dark night, Karma rolled up on the wide passenger seat, just us and the van again, the two families swapped out like ram chips, home to bed, to sleep and to heal. I do this for non-family too, I seem to enjoy it somehow. Moving.

Do you remember the last time you moved? Yes of course you do. Did you get the new start you promised yourself? Did you really move? Or just your possessions? Is your life just going round and round, new faces, same dramas, or is it really a nice spiral? Somehow, when folks are looking for that box with "bathroom" on it in red felt tip and the cat, and suchlike, I'm pondering things like this.

Will folks be explaining the move to the plants and pets?.. Is the chi favourable in the new home?.. Where is the moon?.. Is there old dirt there?.. Well, the women usually consider that one too, but quite probably in an entirely different light; bright and close, and with rubber gloves on.

The last time I moved, I remember well standing in the centre of my biggest room, bare feet on the floorboards, arms spread like Tim Robbins after crawling that mile of sewage, dropping in a fresh stream, bathed in the moonlight, declaring..

"I HAVE MOVED"

..reeling in all the bits I wanted to take, and leaving behind the rest. I did other stuff too, but it's probably best not to delve too deeply into that, you can make up your own rituals well enough.

Muscles tired and aching, I slip into an early bed, and just then get a call from old friends. An invite for the following day, okay dokie, and off to sleep, relaxing.. looking forward to the morning already.

As I drift to sleep, these words dart around my mind, I pop them into the nearest object..

Moving.
Possessions are easy,
you label them and lift them, move them and set them down.

The hard part is the people, deciding
which ones go,
which ones stick around.

;o) Cor

a fantasy story..

let's pretend I am admin at a bulletin board.

I share the task with two other admin. One of them has annoyed me, and I'd like to get rid of him. How do I do it?

Come on now! You might have to deal with this. it's the digital new-age, bulletin boards are popular, folks not only hang out in them, but pour out their worries and dreams there too, evolve, decide.. This is important. No, forget all that, this dude just nips my head. He keeps reminding me of my own weaknesses and foibles, and I'm not entirely certain whether it's because he too suffers them, or he's just reminding me. Pisses me right off. In short, it would be easier if he was out of the way. Or disgraced or something, killed..

The big problem with all this is that with a bulletin board, everything is in black and white. Someone, if they had a mind to, could follow the chain of events and prove or more likely disprove, anything I say against this guy. He probably keep his own logs too! Damn! And Yes I know this is all supposed to be about running a bulletin board, and this diversity is the great strength and all that, but if I play by those rules and actually debate this, well, folks will see right through it! I'll need help here.

it's a challenge. The biggest trouble is, members like him! bastards! I mean, being witty and intelligent individual, good looking and lots of fun too, not to mention dedicated and hard working, well, no way I could ask the members to de-rail him. Wouldn't happen. He's bloody popular! FECK! You should see the fan-mail he gets! fucker.

I ponder this for an age, which of course was completely unnecessary, the answer is staring me right in the face! It may all be in black and white, but it's existence relies upon people. Humans. All it takes is a few good men, some old-fashioned rumour-mongering, sprinkle in a little FUD and Bob's my Uncle! Of course! A phpbb witch-hunt! This is beautiful, my three part plan..

1: Announce that I must step down, extra work-load, family, excuse is optional. Recommend a replacement admin, and instate him right away.

2: don't Go! This is important. After the initial, "Oh, we'll miss you, can't you find it in your schedule and your heart to stay a while", I'll just bloody stay! No one will mention it again, so I won't have to either. Guaranteed. And now I have another admin on my side.

3: Meet with this new admin, and convince him I am sooo right to want to remove my enemy, and recruit, or more likely get the new admin to recruit, yet another admin! Meet for more rumours and work them up a bit. Inform the enemy that he missed the meetings. Repeat until I have enough admins for a clear majority!


No, this isn't ludicrous! This is humans. If beardy George V could get millions of men in the prime of their life to jump into a muddy trench to have their head shot off, surely I can whip a few guys into a virtual storm, folks risking no more than the neck of their beloved smileys.

It'll be easy. I'll invite anyone who'll back me up, ex-lovers, sacked cleaners, anyone at all with something to say, bring them along to the staff meetings too (mr. enemy's piercing sense of humour has pissed off almost everyone at one point or another, this part will be a cinch) I can paste IRC logs (editing out the bits I don't need, everyone believes logs) and other wee snippets of data to convince them. Then I'll make a few wild cries about it being HIM OR ME - folks respond to this, a mothering instinct, perhaps. Within a few days, the whole (now quite sizable) admin team, emotionally bribed and gagged, will march right into my line, believing that the whole world is about to end.

Then we sack him, and with the full blessing of the whole admin team! it's beautiful. He hasn't got a hope!

Now all this relies on some pretty sleepy mods and members, of course, or maybe apathetic is a better word, and having a bulletin board with no rules whatsoever, and I also have to ensure that he's not recruiting admins at the same time too, (surely no one else could come up with brilliant and dasterdly plan!) else it would get like agent smith, people could get virtually hurt. It could go on forever! Where's the fun in that?

But in the main, folks rarely complain, and you can take the most outrageous liberties with the facts before they will even consider piping up about it. Politics. An old neighbour of mine used to say "it's just a game of cards".

And if that smart bastard ever tries to clearly and concisely argue the many many individual out-of-context hearsays I have concocted, well, who's gonna read more than the first couple of paragraphs of that! Most folk have the attention span of a goldfish anyway. No, propaganda has taken over at this point. A quick "no, that's bullshit m8" posted after it knock's that on the head right away. Peeps like the last post best, I find. Seeds of doubt bear fruit almost overnight, given the right conditions.

And if he gets, okay justifiably, angry about all this, well, there you have it, I told you he was a trouble-maker all along!

that's it!
I'm the president! You will kneel now!

No! Come back! Please! You didn't kneel! COME BACK!!!

Well, anyway, I was going to say..
All that's left is to hope no one points out the one other obvious solution to my fantasy crisis.. grow up cor!

Wadda ya mean you've stopped reading already!?! I love this guy!

;o) Cor

Karma, the dog.

I remember IRC the day I announced this was to be my dog's name, someone piped up "cool! means folks around you will be saying 'Good Karma!' all the time". it's a nice idea, aye. In reality it didn't work out like that. Most folks prefer "girl", for a start.

I heard an old girlfriend of mine had recently returned to the manor. Today, out walking, (karma always runs of course) we paid a visit, her reaction is typical..

It always begins with The Big Hello; Karma goes into crazy-tail-wagging mode, I mean her whole body is involved in this, they hug, exchange attention and Karma jumps up for big luvvin (she's a big dog now, and not allowed to do this). Then she gypes1 about looking for something they can play with, especially if it's chewable, if that's okay. After a half hour of this, usually less, phrases like "Lie Down Karma!" start to appear, or " Relax Dog! Settle!", "Fer God Sake DoG! No! NO!!", and so on. I guess a person can only take so much "Good Karma".

Which brings me neatly to this essay I have lying around.

A couple of months back I was invited to an unusual internet group. A so-called magickal circle, sort of. Nothing terribly dark or sinister, just the usual grouping of would-be Alister Crowley's with a fetish for creating obscure ranking systems. I did nothing, but the updates and mails poured in. Within a few days they called for "essays on Karma" I just knew I had to say something! I pondered it for a few days then rapidly drafted my essay-to-end-all-essays-on-karma, hoping to impress them with my skills on this subject, my penetrating insights and all that.

But the more I worked on it, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised I was just playing the same game they were. Vanity. Perhaps I was gonna play it like I did the high jump back at inter-school's, sit out the start, jump when it becomes a challenge, really messes with your opponents' heads, and in the rules, sure, just look. By the time I finished it, the vanity aspect had become as important to the piece as the karmic one.

It never did get serious, and disheartened by the stream of unadulterated blabber that followed in response to the karmic essay call, I clicked the link that stops the mails and filed the piece under "not ready". Them, or me, I'm not quite sure. But now I've got this blog thing, so I guess vanity is what it's all about, or maybe it's exhibitionism. There are much more flattering definitions, some true.

Yes, I'm going to post it here! Seeing as how you liked the CeeBee's thing, I'll keep on this vein for a few days (keep 'em mails coming peeps! and some flames too, please! ;o). In truth, it's been itchy, having it just sitting here, it wants to be on the interenet. I'm not even gonna edit it! (okay, maybe I'll make thing into particles, that was on my mind ;o) So here it is, the world exclusive, first edition, you heard it here first (etcetera, etcetera) of..


Karma Yoga: A work for the *******Magick group

this work is © cor 2003, no part may be altered (except in your brain) without express written permission. email me if you want to propose changes. spelling corrections are fine.


Initially I had no idea how or why I got myself invited into this "*******Magick Group", then I saw the request for essays on Karma. Hmm.. interesting, was my thought. While I haven't had any spare time this last week, today I managed to catch up on all those digested emails. *phew* Anyway, now I completely understand why I was invited!

Karma Yoga

This has been an area of intense study and experiment for me, not so much in the traditional scholarly sense, those methods are rarely used here, but in the personal sense, as if understanding of the Laws of Karma and its mechanics were somehow vital to me, fundamental to my existance. That is also a general effect of this time we live in.

Like everyone bound to earth, my knowledge is limited, filtered, yet I have discovered many things which may be useful to your understanding. As much as I am allowed to share, I will expand some of these discoveries. I say "discoveries" because there is nothing very new to learn here, it was all worked out long ago. We may have been mapping out this territory, attempting an understanding of it for as long as man could consider such things, but the essential truth remains unchanged. Only its presentation differs, and in that process, an evolution of our understanding of Karmic Law is taking place. You can know more than your forefathers did. That is the way.

What I present here is no more than a brief sketch, foods for thoughts, some juicy seeds and a couple of tricks too. Read some bits slowly. Karma is, well..

The common conception is a nonsense, obviously, but a clever one, and surely does provide a little of the essence of Karma Yoga to the popular tastes; that the laws of cause and effect also work outside the realm of the purely mechanical, and most folks are content to believe that if they do "bad" stuff, then they will attract bad events. They also believe that doing good stuff will be rewarding, bring "good" events, stuff. People really do (want to) believe that they are punished by Karma. Like Karma Cares!

This is all very childlike, of course, and if these people refuse to look further into the issue, is that our concern? Perhaps they might do that, if someone would only explain it to them in a way that makes sense, someone who knew what they were talking about. Truth is, most people need to work with the concept at this childlike level for a very long time before even the slightest glimmer of real understanding comes. But it does come. In the meantime they try to behave.

For the interested, the usual texts are littered with references to Karma, some very precise and enlightening, others much less so. So much misleading garbage on the subject exists that "writing about Karma" is very nearly a pointless task, literally. But the laws of Karma are well expounded in the work of every era and at every time, even today. Our current artistic output is literally creaking with examples. I decide here and now to make no references whatsoever! This piece will function as well as any. So, what is Karma?

Karma is a lie.
You'd better believe it!

Karma is an energy.
A force. At many levels of truth this tests positive. Trying to separate it out and examine it apart from the other forces at work in our life and universe is, for most, a subjective experience. We can discuss many of the effects of Karmic Law and much more, but its inner mechanics remain a mystery. Trying to plot an "individual's" karmic patterns is almost ridiculous. No man can trace a "line of cause-and-effect", there is no such thing. No one typing at a computer keyboard can fully grasp its reality, though he may be working very well along its lines, perhaps unwittingly. It doesn't matter, we don't need to understand its inner workings, in the same way that you do not need to understand C++ to start your web browser. Although if the Law of Attraction was in your ken, you'd be better equipped to decipher all Karmic patterns, and much more besides.

But we don't even need to know that to "do" karma yoga.
Okay, what do we need to know?

Karma is a Law.
Its mechanics were set in motion at the birth of our universe, no intervention is necessary. You cannot alter Karmic Law, stop trying. People get confused with their childlike notions of "sin" and "God", with "good" and "bad" , forgetting that this universe is governed by a set of definite Laws. Not some guy on a cloud. People wouldn't mess with Gravity like that, they just accept it, understand it, and then learn to work with it. In that order.

Is making aeroplanes defying gravity?

Karma Works, Perfectly
It never fails. Ever. There is no such thing as "Good Karma" in the same way as There's no such thing as "good electricity", you could power life-support machines, or make Pop-Tarts, it's all the same stuff. that's as far as that analogy goes. You get what you need.

Karma is INSTANT.
It doesn't feck around. it's NOW. No one is blindly "paying for past wrongs" there is no such thing, grow up! Consider, it will be some time until you read this text, but for you it's RIGHT NOW!, and for me too! And further, it was created the very instant you requested it (oh yes you did). I just got round to writing it out just now, I've been very busy. Effects may take time to materialise in the physical world, yes, but the material world is only a small part of the picture, as you know. The cart follows the cow, to see all consequences of an action is Karmic mastery, or at least, mastery of Karmic seeing.

It really Works.
That is, at all times and in all places. For earthlings there is no "escape" from Karma in the same way as there is no escape from air. If you have lungs, you need air, very simple. If you are human, you need Karma. If you believe that someday soon you will suddenly be "released" from the wheel of cause and effect, you are mistaken, again. Comfort yourself with "Ignorance is a necessary prerequisite to knowledge", that's presuming that you can accept how wildly inaccurate your current Karmic Fantasies really are.

it's "Everywhere"
If you know what you are looking for you cannot fail to see the operations of Karmic Law working around you, in every event, from the smallest to the largest, from that blue feather blowing in the wind, to sky-scrapers smashing to the ground, all is within the framework of Karmic operation, every particle spins with Karma.

You can Work with Karma
Yes I know I said that you couldn't escape it, that doesn't mean you can't work with it, even work outside it, but that would take more practice and dedication than most folks are willing to provide. Fortunately, that's not necessary either, all one needs to do is work "with" Karma.

..unless you are lucky.

This is where we need to stop and take a breath. Then ask ourselves the big question-

Do I believe in Luck?

Take a minute with this one. Believing in luck and understanding Karmic Law aren't compatible, not in the same brain. You'll need to dump one. Okay, time for a pocket-description of Karma, (ten pages already and now he gives us the pocket description! ha! nothing's for nothin!) or as I like to call it, "Karmic Law"..

Karmic Law is a universal principle operating to create ideal circumstances.

it's outside the scope of this piece, to delve into what those circumstances might be for any particular individual, or even what I mean by any of those words, because the topic here is "Karma Yoga" and so it's time for another pocket description..

"Karma", coming from the Sankrist word "Kri", means "to do", or "to act". "Yoga" is from "Yeug", meaning "a yoke", "To join"; "Union". "Karma Yoga" therefore means..

To Act in Union

You won't read a better description than that. In union with what? you might ask. At the most simplistic level we might say "With the Higher Will" and sure, many would attest to being "guided" into action, or paths of action along these lines. To the Yogi this is a satisfying response, and he would argue that this is the path of least resistance for the soul, offering swiftest results, and easiest progress. "Why not?"

Or are we magus?

This is all very well and good, and by all definitions, the individual who work's for works sake, is joyful in that work, sees himself a cog in the great machinery, seeks no reward, is attached to nothing and no one, yet gives love unending, etc, would be pretty well kitted out as a Trainee Karma Yogi. If he could add "joyfully guided" to his toolkit he'd be yogi bear status within weeks! but..

ARE WE MAGUS?

My own work in the field is concerned with what I have come to refer as "bending karma". With my pocket descriptions past, I can begin to share a little of the good stuff.

It began with a simple question; "What if the laws of Karma, impartial as they are, could somehow be bent to one's own will? What if one's own Karma, and that of those around you, could be altered to one's own design?"

A few lines from now I'll hit you with a small but very cute phrase. If you've followed me down to here then it might just make perfect sense. If you still haven't grasped the whole Karma=MC2 thing, then you'll need to work some first.

Do you believe you are being punished for past sins? If so, do begin again at the top of the page! Do you believe that if you are a "good" person, you will be rewarded for this goodness? Please.. Line One! Do you still blame her for that? See above! Do you believe everything I've said you say? .. try again!

You must accept that every single event in your life until this point has been for YOU! Perfect! Every word you've read, or heard, or even overheard, was FOR you? You see that? Do you see how the only thing which makes you angry is YOU DAMMIT!? Good, let's goan..

I realised that Karmic Law never fails, that it could be the constant in any equation I chose to create. Karmic Law = exactly what you need, so my initial experiments focused on a very simple tactic..

Change what I need.

This is a mindblowingly uncomplicated concept, yet, tremendously difficult for most adepts to at first understand, and even more difficult to implement wholeheartedly, simply because,

a) they don't yet know what it is they need (apart from a good kick up the arse) In other words, they don't "know themselves", or aren't "self-realised" or whatever your pet-phrase for this is, "got yoga" maybe? Perhaps their single-minded ambition and endless hunger is leaps and bounds for that soul, or another's listless vanity and dilettante occultist meanderings are in line with their evolution, maybe not, who can say? Can you?

The point is, no one can work out an equation until they at least know one part of it! Might be best just to go with the flow for a while, watch how Karma works (start with small "events"); you may begin to recognise patterns, maybe you can read karmic data naturally(!), like the matrix, and just maybe you'll get some opportunities to work out that dreadful mess.

and..

b) Actually, I've forgotten what b) was going to be. Insert your own damned excuse!

In short, it's gonna take a lot of work before you can understand karma yoga, because you'll first have to DO Karma yoga! If you would simply detach yourself from your actions, and their imagined results, you might truly experience the effects of Karmic Law working in a controlled, scientific manner (which your western brain MUST have, before it accepts the truth, yes?), and then even more work before you can start to experiment with the interwoven cause-and-effect mechanisms (let's call these babies "Karmix") not to mention your trials with the dynamics of the Law of Attraction. Attraction.

Of course, you may find yourself in contact with a master who can quickly impart some reality into your sleepy brain cells.

Maybe then you can start to bend karma.

syat!
for now..

;o) Cor

ps.. As an afterthought, I feel I should mention that my dog is called "Karma". But that means nothing.





Right after I finished this I had the urge to pen this small piece, as it was so close in time, I guess it must be for you too...


cancer eater

Cancer's a great teacher, sure, but There's better ones.
Aye, for every unborn soul that chose a dis-eased life,
There's millions creating a new one here on earth.
Watch them go about their work, spreading their cancers,
crafting a comfy chair from fear, and hating it. Really watch them.

They seem upset, unbalanced, does it show yet?
catch it now, before it works down, the physical, oh too late!
You can see auras, good for you,
a spiritual dis-ease is mucky colours? cool!
Do you examine yourself this way too, Mr. Guru?

I'm just watching karma flow, from the small
to the big, endless ripples of soft data.
I look again, I see outside, the fields,
a sea of those I know and love, and farther,
to all who touch me, and then all things.

I sing a song..
This inextricable web of action that extends, extends
through all dimension, never ends. Never seeking an end, just working,
all is at hand, and there I was thinking
something was wrong.

;o) Cor

refs:
1:
Scots for "Idiot Frolick"

first, second thoughts..

Someone on my local forum is suffering, lost something, a thing commonly lost, it seems; friend of mine woke me up the other day with the very same complaint! "Creative Block!" (aka "The CeeBee's"). "What do you expect me to do about it?", I asked, more to the coffee machine. We ended up munching sunflower sprouts and moshing to Incubus in full lotus. That shape I drew on the carpet is still there (that's what chalk was really invented for, you knew that?) it was circles within circles, and another line..

But that doesn't mean I forgotten my virtual peeps! No! You'll need to sprout your own sunflower seeds (soak for a few hours, rinse, and put somewhere warm, eat within two days) and procure your own Incubus (Their Lollapalooza gig is fine, loud), but below you'll find the kind of tech that rarely gets into a blog, mind tech! Prepare to suspend you disbelief and maybe even do the snake..

The CeeBee's

To understand "creative block", you have to understand creativity. What is it? Where does it come from? Good questions, and likely to be the subject of debate for eons yet, but I'll cut to the tech..


The human mind operates on three distinct levels, they overlap and interact infinitely, but nevertheless it's useful to split them like this.

Instinctive Mind: All animals and plants possess this, in fact all living things. In humans it controls stuff like breathing and respiration. Some humans operate almost entirely on this level, only getting brief "flashes" of intellectual reasoning. You might say this is where habits live. It can learn too, driving is, for most, a function of the instinctive mind, once it has been trained to do this, by the..

Intellectual Mind: Animals and plants possess this in varying levels, dogs and cats obviously so, though many other forms of life on earth too. In humans it has achieved one the highest levels of action. This is where most of us do our work, live and enjoy most of our life, pondering and considering and ultimately deciding our reality. Occasionally, even the dullest sorts will get flashes of..

Creative (Spiritual) Mind: Some will get more than flashes. Others still, after perhaps lifetimes of work and dedication, will live their life almost entirely in this plane. That intellectual mind can be trained just like the animal part, and will gladly walk through the most demanding task, allowing our thoughts to operate at this third, and highest level. Events and situations once baffling to the brain, are guided, automatic.

I see at the centre of my self a divine and brilliant light. This is a commonly yogic approach. This light is a pure point of creative brightness, a spiritual light, connected to all matter, all living things, to infinity itself. It is continually pouring out this infinite energy like a Sun pours light and heat and radiation into the solar system and beyond.

Moving away from this centre, the ether becomes less fine, there is evidence of a series of layers, the thinnest of materials, a near invisible muslim, and so it goes.. to thicker and coarser material as the layers pile on but still, more dimly from here sure, the light burns. I'm speaking about my consciousness.

it's not an even process, this density, there are patches where the light seems fairly bright, you find combinations of particular thought and action take you there, you sense the higher vibrations, you feel your mind washed with a luminesance, vision is clear, thoughts unfettered by the coarse and mundane. This is why "getting close to nature" is so effective. it's no mistake that in many languages the word "Nature" and the word "God", are the same word.

At these points the "light" of creativity interacts with the intellectual mind, our thoughts; connexions spark, answers and direction come, creativity, insight, genius, call it what you like. The term "illumination" is worth pondering. After some time we can bring the Zen window to the front to wipe some dirt from the mirror, so to speak, a lesson learned perhaps, a breakthrough, apple-tab back and some density, a thin wrapping, some blockage is removed. The light is more all over now, and so it goes, closer and closer, no longer being creative, but a creative being.. I should have ended with that maybe, huh? The image works well in two dimensions too, a snaking spiral our path towards the centre.

That "spark" is always there. The "blockages" are just that. Channels can be punched in, but the gradual clearing process is done chiefly with the intellect, more and more guided by the higher, creative, mind. Something as simple as Bowen therapy, or just learning to completely relax for once, could revolutionise your whole creative process. As could seeing something for once from the other side, something you really believe in.

Maybe digging a hole, or knitting a scarf, hugging trees or making love will do it for you, only you know. Exploration is inevitable. I'll wager the exploring itself is valuable. Allow one day a week to be guided by "signs".


More to come in corz yogi training course!!!

In part two you will find out how to:
Breath Creativity ..
A guide in to electrifying your creative the process!

Remove habitual thinking (repetitive mental contracts)..
Clear space for creativity process!!

Eat and Be Art..
Nutritional tricks will super-pow-blast creative juices!!!
etc.
Cor

Quack Arena

A bulletin board must be the best place in the world to disagree, don't you think? Live enough for blood to boil, then time, to edit and review, formulate and focus your thoughts, see the fool in yourself, very much like a blog, except here no one gets to disagree.

I like that about blogging. You don't have to consider someone replying, you can rant to the general internet, the world at large. There's a physics at work I guess, nothing is wasted. Me stringing these words together feels like the beginning of something else, the effects of which I don't even try to guess, I wouldn't get odds. The next paragraph seems absurd, There's still time to leave, you know.

A Ducks Quack doesn't echo, straight up*. One day someone might find out why, research it, there has to be an explanation, right? Add one day you'll be reading this very text, are; might be today for me too. it's been a good day. Yes? Maths.

Earlier we yapped about movies, Memento, Revolution OS, Pi. I moved to ex-preacher mode for this, a game in which I usually take two turns. *wink* Blog to the Log I do, the weblob thing is all new to me, I'll maybe sort out some re-runs..

IRC, earlier..
-c- I'm calmer about BB now
-c- I don't mind if it just trickles chat
-r- u got used to it?
-c- I'm cool with gentle streams
-r- taking it for granted now huh?
-c- that's the way it should be
-r- it would be great if it were faster tho
-r- like in the case of d/l!
-c- one day there'll be no sensation of data *moving*, it will simply *be there*
-r- i just hope i live to see the day
-c- children will find the idea of a progress bar quaint
-r- spoilt brats!
-c- only scientists working on astronomical numbers will know CPU delay
-r- well i hope the day comes soon, coz I'll be signing up for it!

We'll be alive for that. Exciting isn't it. And maybe much much more. We might yet discover how to live very long indeed. I might show you how to eat and breath, and to relax. How to sup water so it works like raw electric through your nerves, or it might be someone else. The data on the wires is invisible you see, to the naked eye, we need science to see it, Big Science. Maybe we're gonna step out of our second stone age.

The spanning makes a pretty map. It'll all go fuzz in the end I suppose, more likely a lot sooner, we'll need a 3D map, at least, and a way to view it. Someone is working on this, of course.

I sometimes wonder about my part in all this, the years of ducking and diving in and out of ongoing projects, imagining my input vital and effective, waiting only for the impact-noise, moving on. I'm rarely needed beyond that, and it's quite fun. A quick nick change..

Webexpo was the first place I considered hanging around. Of course it was the warez back then that drew us all in. A pirate haven, local laws meets worldwide web. The net always a step ahead of the lawyers and law makers, sometimes two steps.

No, it wasn't the free software, though I sure appreciated some of that, but the kin. When the warez left, that remained. Inside that busy hive a mostly weird bunch of individuals, a crew of creative mac users, exploring, poking fun at each other, and at themselves, ourselves. The impact noise became a hum, a tone, a song.

And this time, I wasn't the only one singing.

;o) Cor

references:
Okay, that's a myth, but still, a pretty believable one!

corzblog: a blogging system for me

well..

I finally got around to my blogging system. I call it corzblog, but if you use it yourself, you can call it whatever you like. Before you begin, you'll need to open up the file called blogz in a text editor and delete the contents. Then you can start your blogging afresh.

Check out the readme.txt for full installation instructions (even an adult could do it!) Then it's all yours; play around, see how easy it is to add stuff to the blog, like images..

google!

and links too!


two ways to present code.. (three, in fact; standard code tags work fine too - ed)

if [ `whoami` != 'root' ]; then
echo "who the hell are you?"


code box:
su
reboot now

And a few other nifty things. My main objective was to make it as simple as possible to use. Done it.

Now I can sleep!

;o)


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