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August 26, 2004

New Design

Just a quick post to state the obvious: the new design is here! The story of this design has been fraught with so many tribulations you wouldn't even believe it, but that's for another time... For right now, what's important is that it's finally up and running. This is just a bare-bones version of what I have in mind, but it'll do for now. Soon, I'll get another designer to make a few modifications, and eventually expand the site into a few more static pages, etc.

So stay tuned... for all of the above and of course for the blogging, which should return to more regular levels soon. I have been neglecting blogging/writing in general because of a bunch of pressing "real life" stuff, to the point where I'm the only one over at Key23 that hasn't posted an article yet. Despicable. Ah, but I'm working on it, I'm working on it...

August 18, 2004

The Beast

Filmmaker Brian Flemming, after directing Nothing So Strange, a mockumentary which imagines the assassination of Bill Gates, is now at work on The Beast. According to its pre-production official site, the film will be based on little-known historical data which suggests that Jesus Christ may have never existed. Release date? 06-06-06, of course.

Fair bet: this project will cause Flemming & Co. to catch even more flak than they did for, um, "killing Bill". I genuinely look forward to seeing how the most arrogant and narrow-minded names in news (like Fox's Cavuto, whom you can admire at work on Nothing So Strange in the previous link) will respond to a movie that carries the infectious meme of Jesus as a historical sham. I do hope they won't put Brian through too much hell, though.

And now, the Questions of the Day: Would we ever see such movies if it weren't for independent filmmakers? And when things of this level of controversy do make it into the big Hollywood channels, isn't it usually because somebody like Flemming did it years earlier? OK, so my Questions of the Day are a tad rhetorical. Nonetheless, they point to a reality that is worth thinking about. While you're thinking, click this link and visit another Flemming project: Free Cinema. From the site:

'Now that digital technology has made the feature film as cheap to produce as a novel (i.e., for nothing), it has become possible for filmmakers to experiment with their own copyrights in ways that were formerly impractical.

It is a virtual certainty that Hollywood will not be conducting these experiments.

That leaves us. And the free-culture movement is showing us the way. Already, Open Source and Free Software have transformed the software industry, making software creators happier, better and more independent. New musicians are getting turned on to free culture every day.

What feature filmmakers are going to put their toes in this water? What new and exciting cinema could be created outside of the standard Hollywood copyright dogma? What happens when you set a feature film free? Free Cinema intends to find out.'

August 10, 2004

Winged Cat “From Hell” Put to Death in Central Russia

'A winged cat has been killed by villagers near the Central Russian city of Kursk. The locals drowned the deformed puss after believing it was a messenger of Satan, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports.

On entering her yard, Nadezhda Medvedeva saw how a stray cat stood up and, just like a chicken, stretched out two wings. She said that at that moment her hair stood on end. The locals had no doubt the unlucky cat was a messenger of the devil, the Vlasti.net website writes.

Where the cat came from and why it appeared in the village of Bukreyevk nobody knows. Nadezhda Medvedeva, whose home is located on the edge of the village, said she initially heard a soft meowing.

“We poured some milk into a bowl,” Medvedeva recounted. “A tom cat came out — ginger, huge, twice as big as normal. He drank greedily and started meowing again…asking for more. We started feeding him. After a couple of days my daughter came running in all scared and whispered: ’Mom, come and look at the cat! He’s got wings!’”' (Mosnews.com article via FARK)
I believe the sequence of letters you're looking for is OMFG.

August 06, 2004

Doom 3

The much-awaited Doom 3 has finally hit the shelves. The predictable, knee-jerk, tedious bleating about violence and videogames, on the other hand, never went away. And Circling The Square, a blog which I've mentioned before and thought dead, is back with a brilliant post on the subject:

'It's no secret that computer games make normal, well-adjusted youths want to commit acts of brutal violence. It's only natural! While various watchdog groups (ie. busybodies) have harshly criticized DOOM 3 for its baroque orgies of blood and gore, Circling the Square takes a rather different position.

It is certainly true that the violent content of video games has contributed to many serious social problems over the years. But at CtS, we feel that the problem hasn't stemmed from the presence of violent content so much from as the lack of specificity in that content.

Back in the old days, games were so abstract that you could never tell just how players would choose to express their uncontrollable violent impulses. The debut of Pong in 1972 inspired thousands of incidents, ranging from fist fights to vehicular homicide to carpet bombings of small South American nations: all because Pong enthusiasts couldn't relate the Pong experience to their own multi-hued, three dimensional lives. Jeffrey Dahmer, a Pac-Man fanatic, couldn't figure out what "power pellets" were - those mysterious white dots that gave Pac-Man his strength. This confusion left Dahmer feeling empty inside an emptiness he could only fill by devouring the mutilated corpses of over a dozen gay black men. And who among us hasn't dropped cinderblocks on sleeping hobos from a penthouse apartment window after an all-night Tetris marathon? Abstract games inspire abstract violence and that sort of violence is neither constructive nor entertaining!'
Read the whole thing, then go play your little hearts out!

August 04, 2004

In other news,

I'm just back from Vegas, where I attended Defcon 12. What's Defcon? You can call it a "hacking" conference, although the word must always be used with caution, especially if you're the type who thinks that hackers = cybercriminals, or stuff like that. I like to imagine that no reader of Corridor of Madness would, but you never know. The reality is that hacking is a great example of practical magick done in everyday life, and within a world saturated with technology and glued together by multiple networks, of networks, of networks... but I don't really want to get into the subject, as I am supposed to work on a Key23 article about it. So stay tuned with The Key, and go there right now to read all the cool stuff that the rest of the gang has posted while I was away...

here comes the Dreammachine

Via Invisible College:

'On Thursday, August 12, West Portal Books (111 West Portal Ave., San Francisco) unveils a month-long Brion Gysin Dreamachine window display, featuring the psychoactive device in practically 24/7 operation. Though mild entheogenic effects may be felt through the window or inside the store during business hours, optimum viewing is experienced after dark with eyes closed. This will be the Bay Area's first ever Dreamachine exhibit, other than the machine's brief appearance during a William S. Burroughs memorial service held at the SF Art Institute in 1999. Currently on display at West Portal Books, through August 11, is a Wishing Machine. The peculiar devices find literary companionship through Burroughs' work.'
I am so going to this thing — needless to say, perhaps. August 12th, be here NOW!

Hakim Bey: An Anarchist in the Hudson Valley

Via LVX23 comes a link to this Hakim Bey interview, by Jennifer Bleyer of Brooklyn Rail. Excerpt:

'Bleyer: What do you think about Burning Man and other events that are in essence Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) but don’t necessarily dismantle the power structures of global capital?

Wilson: I’ve never been to Burning Man, but that’s just accidental, because I’ve given up travel. As far as I can tell it’s a lovely thing. I call those things "periodic autonomous zones." The thing about the TAZ is I didn’t invent it, I just gave it a name. I think it’s a sociological reality that groups of people will come together to maximize some concept of freedom that they share as naturally as breathing. When all the potential for the emergence for a TAZ is maximized, either because you’ve helped to maximize it or because your local situation has arrived at a certain point where it becomes possible, you’ll do it. Like I’ve said before, a TAZ is anywhere from two to several thousand people, who for as little as two or three hours or for as much as a couple of years manage to keep that mood going. And it’s incredibly vital. It’s vital that every human being should have some such experience, or else they’ll never know that another world is possible. So Burning Man is a kind of periodic autonomous zone. As soon as the first hint of commercialization or tiredness appears, then I would think the best thing to do is to close it down. Move on, reappear somewhere else. And ultimately, I do believe that another world is possible and that permanent changes could be made. But that’s different. That’s a revolution.'