Older Skaters

“So, you started skating again (or want to) after a long break? Awesome! First, and foremost, welcome back! This is a great time to get back into skateboarding. Our golden age is happening now. There are parks and DIY builds everywhere, any type of equipment you might want is available (not true in the past), and there are plenty of ways to get connected with other (older) skaters. Moreover, if you stick with it, you will have more fun skateboarding now than you ever did before. I promise you that. However, before you get totally up and running again, there are a few speed bumps along the way that we need to address.”

-sedition, ” Welcome Back: Starting-Up Again After a Long Break..” Concrete Existence. November 26, 2019.

I live within a block of a skate park, one with a pool, half-pipe and is always packed. I’ll admit I’d like to get out there and try it. I’ll also admit that I read recent posts from this blog like, “Ankle Update, Feb 2021,” and think the risk of skateboard injuries in your middle-age sounds a lot less fun.

A New Samizdat

“What if now were the time for a new self-publishing here at home — a new samizdat? The time to create a new, parallel communications network and a fresh system for information sharing? A parallel network and a fresh system owned not by commercial interests — so Twitter, Facebook, Medium, and other seemingly “self-publishing” platforms can’t factor in here — nor by the state or the government, but by the very people who create and maintain them, part of a widening nonprofit, non-commercial ecosystem. Václav Havel spoke of the battle of first and second cultures as an epic contest between “an anonymous, soulless, immobilizing (‘entropic’) power,” on the one hand, and “life, humanity, being, and its mystery,” on the other. [5] Fellow dissidents spoke of samizdat’s second culture as “the only meaningful construction” people could create if they did not want “to remain passive appendices of the political and social structures created by the ruling power.” [6] They signaled each other as they wrote, distributed, and published — from the smallest codes, of the kinds that the Encyclopédistes used, to the largest and, also like the Encyclopédie, most earth-shattering. [7] Solzhenitsyn spoke of the mystical wisdom of a process in which information that is urgent somehow rises to the top. Samizdat, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “knows what is what.” [8]

-Peter B. Kaufman, “Freethinkers Versus the Monsterverse: An Excerpt from ‘The New Enlightenment.'” Los Angeles Review of Books. February 23, 2021

This is one of the motivations behind my use of a blog and stripping out advertising. But, this points to a much fuller conception. Should I be making ‘zines, podcasts, create a video channel? It all sounds very exhausting. But, at minimum, I’m not going to spend my time helping the feudal Internet hit their revenue targets with what passes as my commentary.

Evil Shit on the Internet: The Spinner

“The Spinner* is a service that enables you to subconsciously influence a specific person, by controlling the content on the websites he or she usually visits.

The targeted person gets repetitively exposed to hundreds of items which are placed and disguised as editorial content.

https://www.thespinner.net/

What makes this creepy as all get-out is that when we think of people using this kind of tool to manipulate the people in their lives, we intuitively understand that this is a tool for sociopaths and psychopaths. When you start thinking about this hard enough, what is the difference between The Spinner and using Google and Facebook to do the same thing for a demographic? There isn’t one. We only call it advertising when it is a group since it isn’t personal. I’m kind of taking it personal.

Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

“The Phites who’d invented the boost had had one big advantage as they’d tinkered with each other’s brains: it had not been a purely theoretical exercise for them. They hadn’t gazed at anatomical diagrams and then reasoned their way to a better design. They had experienced the effects of thousands of small experimental changes, and the results had shaped their intuition for the process. Very little of that intuition had been spoken aloud, let alone written down and formalised. And the process of decoding those insights from a purely structural view of their brains was every bit as difficult as decoding the language itself.”

—Greg Egan, “Crystal Nights.”

Struck me as an interesting example of how lived experience cannot be reduced to language and abstraction.

Experience Japan Pictograms

Experience Japan Pictograms are a novel set of visual symbols developed by creative director Daigo Daikoku for people of all cultures and ages to enhance their tourism experience in Japan. And whether you run a restaurant, are building an app or putting together a guidebook, the pictograms are free and available to download for any use, even commercial. You can even change the color as you wish.”

Over 250 Pictograms Depicting Japanese Culture, Released to the Public for Free Use.” Spoon & Tamago. February 19, 2021.

Just to show you options beyond changing colors, it is possible to combine different elements from Experience Japan Pictograms in Illustrator or Inkscape (free). Above, I created a site header for cafebedouin.org combining the dunes of L_TOTTIORI-SATYU.svg with a camel I traced from an image in Illustrator, and then combined the camel with the coffee icon in F_KISSATKEN.svg. Fairly easy to do. Of course, I’m not a big fan of unnecessary images on my site. However, the camel coffee cup might be a good logo of sorts. Anyway, I could see quite a few possibilities for using these pictograms in headers for a site, promotional materials or what have you.

Judgmental About Your Drink Order

“The secret truth of the martini is that ordering it up is for dorks. Order that shit on the rocks and have your goddamn drink without having to balance it on a pancake. I’m sure there are people who think they look more sophisticated drinking martini glass drinks, but they’re wrong. Almost spilling your drink at all times isn’t sophisticated by any metric I’ve ever been hipped to. You are vastly more sophisticated knowing what you don’t have to do and doing what works for you. this is the lesson of the day, apparently.”

-Brendan Kelly, “Sir, a drink please….Bad Sandwich Chronicles. February 19, 2021

Enjoyed this judgmental rant. I haven’t had half the drinks on the list, but I kind of want to collect the whole set. As an up martini drinker, the only response I can make is that if it has ice (or worse, vodka), it isn’t a martini. If that means you either need a little balance or have a little spillage, such is life.

Also, daiquiris are fine. You can drink four daiquiris. If you are in Chicago, space them out with a little Malört, and shift the whole thing into weird territory.