Modern Sandbenders

11.00.35 - Mark

"I like your computer," she said. "It looks like it was made by Indians or something."

Chia looked down at her sandbenders. Turned off the red switch. "Coral," she said. "These are turquoise. The ones that look like ivory are the inside of a kind of nut. Renewable."

"The rest is silver?"

"Aluminum," Chia said. "They melt old cans they dig up on the beach cast it in sand molds. These panels are micarta. That's linen with this resin in it."

Years ago I read that bit of text in William Gibson's Idoru, and it's been an idea kicking around in my head ever since. I love the idea of casting a 3d circuit holding itself together in the air. The joy of functional art, from recleamed materials and repurposed parts.

It's not the sole reason I bought an Arduino to build a 3x3x3 LED cube, but the whole idea was rekindled by seeing an Arduino Skeleton [via HackADay]. While it's not the aluminum cast circuit Gibson talked about, a steel wire framed arduino is pretty close. I also like how there are some hints on how to make your own substrate less circuit. So tempting...

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Impossible Dreams

01.13.02 - Mark

I love Escape Pod and with the exception of a 3 or 4 episode backlog (that I'll have cleared by Saturday) I've listened to every show since episode 1, and while I've got some favorites, I was blown away by EP105 - Impossible Dreams. I don't know that it's my favorite recording, but it's easily my favorite Escape Pod story to date. I'm not a movie buff like the characters, but I relate, and while listening to it I found myself empathizing with them far more than I do in most fiction. It's been a long time since I've been pulled into a story in the same way as Impossible Dreams (which is a 2007 hugo award nominee ) did, and that easily is worth donating some money to Escape Pod.

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The Stars My Destination

21.59.18 - Mark

I almost forgot how much I love The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. I loved it the first time I picked it up several years ago, but I finished rereading it last night and I'm in love with it all over again. I'm sure at least part of that love is the elements of it that helped form cyberpunk (mega-corporations, amoral heros, and cybernetic upgrades) but there's so much more than that.

On rereading it the universe Bester crafts is eerily similar to the scifi worlds I tend to craft in my mind, and imagine as being more plausible. With the exception of the psychic elements of the book, everything in the book seems within the grasp of reality.

I don't know that I can adequately explain how much I love this book. If you like scifi at all, or even just a good story, go out and read it.

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05.34.51 - Mark

I don't know why I find myself writing when I'm a bit insomniatic, but I do. Maybe it's because that's when there's the least difference between reality and everything else. Anyways, enjoy.

"Do you dream much?"
"Everyone dreams"
"Not everyone remembers them"
"You are. Isn't that enough"
"I didn't say I was remembering my dreams"
"No, but that's why you brought it up. Tell me about it"
"Dreams are too personal"
"Some. Sexual fantasies and world domnation dreams are. But those aren't the ones you want to talk about"
"This isn't about my id"
"Exactly. So is your ego questioning reality or does your superego was to talk about rebelling against social norms?"
"So whats the other reality?"
"TV shows, mostly. Occassionally a realistic situation"
"Sure you're not just watching too much late night?"
"Yeah. I can't remember sound when I wake up"
"If it was just TV, I'd remember some of the sounds. When I dream it, its like its muted"
"So in your other reality, you're deaf? I'd stick to this world pal."
"I didn't say I didn't hear. I can remember the gist of a dreamt conversation, and remember pieces of the audio enviroment. Just not the sound."
"And you'll remember the sound of this conversation, of this room?"
"I'm not sure - I don't know"
"Maybe you're going deaf in this reality."
"No, I hear fine, but I'm not sure I can consciously remember sound. When I think of a friend I can't remember their voice"
"When I talk to you on the phone, you know it's me"
"That's not remembering, that's recognizing. When I think of another person talking, its all in my voice. Their speach patterns, phrases and vocabulary, but my voice. No other voices in my head"
"Congradulations, you're not schizophrenic"
"So you can remember voices perfectly - in your head, without prompting?"
"A conversation with your grandmother"
"I'm thinking"
"OK, I can't. What's your point."
"You can still remember the point of a conversation with her."
"Yeah. So?"
"We can't remember the sound."
"You think this is a dream?"
"More or less. We can't remember sound here. We can't remember it in what we think are our dreams."
"Do you realize how crazy that sounds?"
"In a way. I just want to know what's real."
"Don't we all?"
"I don't know"
"Neither do I."

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Confessions of a waking mind

10.49.50 - Mark

Its dark. Thats good, it hurts waking up in a really bright room, then again its going to sting like hell in here once I have the body turn the light on. Do I really want up? I'm still a bit tired. What time is it? 9:36? Stupid clock doesn't say AM or PM. It was late when the conscious mind finally fell asleep. Three, maybe 4 AM. PM wouldn't be out of the question.

I don't remember the alarm going off. Did he set an alarm? Yes, for around noon - wasn't much to do today. Did I turn it off? We've turned it off without remembering before. Musle memmory can be a dangerous thing. It has been a while since that's happened, but not out of the question. It's too quiet to be PM. No tv, no one walking around upstairs.

Did I sleep though Friday? That's happened before, crashing for 24 hours or more. Really uncommon, that usually takes a couple nights of crappy sleep - strings of 60 to 90 minute naps. Even on the long haul sleeps we wake up a couple times, at least enough to vaguely remember doing so. Not likely, but maybe this is one of those times?

I really don't want to turn on that light. He'll gain full control, if we do. Maybe there's something else. Eyes are blurry, must have slept with the contacts in again. Oh well, they're doing the job. There's a bit of light cracking in onto the far wall. That's pretty uncommon, at least when we usually wake up. The angle of light means it is, without a doubt, morning.

Now the question is which morning. I still can't remember an alarm. I tell the body to roll over and grab the iPod he uses as an alarm. Nice thing about the video iPods is multiple alarms. Lately we've been setting one for late morning, and another for early afternoon. If the desk clock is right, its too early for them to have gone off today - whatever today is. The body's right hand is pressing down on the click wheel now. Again. Fuck.

Nothing comes up. Is the battery dead? Did it play though Friday? Damn it. We didn't have a lot to do on Friday, but there were a couple things. Decision time, we can wake up a little more and find out what day it really is, or we can go back to sleep. This is taking too much effort. The perils of sleeping in a basement room I suppose. The body is still on its side. Oh well. I have the hand look for and connect the iPod's charging cable, I think. It fails. I have the body turn on the lamp. Ouch.

Stupid light stings like hell for a few seconds, even with an arm and a pillow partially shielding them you still need to wait for the pupils to adjust. Once they do I have the body look over the edge of the bed for the right power cable, then clear it from the small rats nest of wires on the floor. A few seconds later and we have it connected to the iPod. It's waking up, I'm waiting. It's up, we check the time and date. It is Friday, so I've only had 6 hours of sleep.

He's almost too conscious to go back to sleep now, at least easily. Too much stimulus and moving around. Besides, then I'd need to go though all this again in a couple hours. Screw it. We turn off the alarms before rolling back into the bed and letting the conscious mind gradually take over for the day. He'll get up and moving soon. we've already started screaming for a caffeine fix.

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Six words - filled with strange tales

23.54.06 - Mark

I've been having some fun flipping though Wired's collection of six word stories. It's a pretty simple task, so some are bland, but some of those stories open up neat worlds, even if I have visited some of them before. While I'd almost like to see some of them flshed out, I know they would lose their charm.

In a way it reminds me of when I was sucking down a Phillip K. Dick short story anthology a few weeks ago and thinking that so many of them would make great movies, then getting to Paycheck and Minority Report and realizing how horribly Hollywood has butchered those stories.

However here's one for the pile
Heaven Closed. Bankrupt. No more Kharma.

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Backyard Biowar

00.46.16 - Mark

Every time I see an article on how the basement geneticist is on the horizon or I see something about biowar I think back to one of my favorite short stories, Gene Wars by Paul J. McAuley. It was written back in 1991, and I probably read it around 1996 in Hackers an anthology of cyberpunk and hard science scifi.

The reason I bring it up again is this really neat piece on Biowar for Dummies. I'm not going to say scary, I'm not terrorized by this, but its something to chew on.

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