The Longest Now


Supersimultaneity – piling up of events
Tuesday June 29th 2004, 9:05 pm
Filed under: poetic justice

So, there are hours and days and weeks and months where nothing happens. Or where things endeavour to happen but never in any sharply time-delimited fashion. And there are weekends when fifteen different crucial things happen, all magically fitting together, and 90-hour stretches when there isn’t enough time to catch a breath or sleep. And sometimes there are four-hour periods during which five or six different unreschedulable nonrefundable irreplaceable events take place — in the middle of a week in which no others do. Is this a natural property of life? A quality of certain environments? A taste of karmic circumstance? I can’t be the only one to whom this happens; fess up.



failure modes
Saturday June 26th 2004, 11:15 am
Filed under: indescribable

I’d like to spare a few words to address failure modes in nature, life, and society. Occasions when great potential vanishes, powerful forces cancel eachother out, or metastable situations shift suddenly, with speed and force. Suggest a few of your own…

It’s interesting to note the difference between a ‘positive’ dramatic shift, and a philosophical ‘failure mode’ — from the perspective of a cool-headed system of dynamic equations, they are mirror images of one another; run time backwards and you get the other kind of shift. On the other hand, in all but the most fundamental natural shifts, these two look very different… flash-freezing of a waterfall, or the spontaneous creation of order — the conversion of a mass of identical slime mold cells into a large, functional, three-dimensional sporophyte over the course of hours — feels very different to me than an avalanche, the cataclysmic collapse of land above a fault line, or the eruption of a volcano.

But not all failure modes are bad; they are merely modes which produce the “failure” of an equilibrium, despite — perhaps too quickly for — normal equilibrium forces that would counteract such change.

  • Nature – cascade effects (minor tipping points, hundredth monks), strongly polarized equilibria (tectonic shifts [ice ages?], atmospheric shifts), chaotic ‘equilibria’ (many-body states, multiple-attractors, Earth’s magnetic field)
  • Life – sudden zeal; sudden repulsion; suicide (outside of society, as opposed to say hari-kari; by the talented and powerful), death by shock, primogenesis
  • Society – quick meme transmission (witch hunts, the children’s crusade & other youth brigades, modern Japan clothes trends), collapse of good ‘sustainable’ organizations (Greco-Roman theology), traditions, species (var.; ‘need for change’?)


dismissal of detail
Thursday June 17th 2004, 4:14 am
Filed under: null

somewhere beyond inattention to, yet before ignorance or exclusion of, there is dismissal of detail, in a performance, rendition, analysis, or original work. by this I mean detail is recognized, but presumed broadly irrelevant to the work, and whether or not it is present in any particular aspect of the work is subject to the whims of the creator, or to chance.

such is the gloss given to rowling‘s text by the latest harry potter flick… wantonly meticulous in places – as only a rich, spoiled film can be – yet with more disjointed gaps in continuity, character personality, and character intention, than I can count on both hands.
It is hardly worth mentioning the absence of both charm and meaning in the opening and closing scenes, or the negative effect of the B-movie score. The sparseness of dialogue, however, and of scenes with any powerful acting, was stunning – considering the film’s rushed feel and the talent of its cast.



News vectors
Tuesday June 08th 2004, 10:11 am
Filed under: indescribable

Theh only news item in the past four months that I can remember hearing people discuss for days afterwards, tell eachother about, talk about experiences with… is the news of Reagan’s death. Why?



torontoans, united
Thursday June 03rd 2004, 10:24 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

In Toronto this weekend. Three cheers for Canada… and Quebec. Welcome back, Boston!




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