dream: damon and dead gods

2013-11-27 08:54:08

I meet a strange man in a dilapidated farmhouse while on anniversary vacation with A_______. He offers to pay me thousands of dollars if I secretly sneak up on Matt Damon and take a photograph of him with some secret lover. He wants to hire me since I am just some rando and not a well-known paparazzi. I agree because it seems totally worth it.

We get lat+long coordinates from the strange man and head there. It is evening. Damon is in this dock/pavillion on a giant lake at the bottom of a rocky cliff. We park at the top of the cliff and work on figuring out how to hide ourselves and what our plan ought to be. I end up wrapping myself in a black towel and taking A_______'s point & shoot camera and climbing down some rocky ledges for a good vantage point.

At first I watch Damon seemingly set up for his lover. He puts out wine and goes for a swim. A strange APC arrives and armed men as well as some kind of ghastly, suited, skinny creature make their way down the cliff escorting a clearly restrained woman. I curl up under the black towel as they pass, picking their way down a rocky path.

Damon greets and begins talking to the suited man. The woman is put down in the center of the pier. I try to take pictures but am worried about what is going on. More people arrive; this time, it's strange squat twin men wearing yellow and blue striped space suits complete with Buzz Lightyear-style head bubbles. Inside they are both bald and wearing dark welder's goggles.

The spacemen get into canoes and paddle out into the lake. Meanwhile, Damon and the suited man open a great chest and pull out a huge book. A book that's as big as Damon's torso. Its binding is a deep red and the cover is a confounding and non-euclidean pattern in maroon.

A light emanates from the lake. It's the two spacemen, who have set themselves up equidistant from each other and the deck on rocks. A beam of light is coming from their chests and I can hear them chanting in some language so quickly it is impossible to understand them.

The light pierces the book and behind it a giant orb starts to form. It is silvery at its core and shrouded in red mist and energy. Damon and the suited man look very, very pleased.

Suddenly my patron appears next to me.

"We must stop them. I'm sorry I have lied to you, but I needed evidence of their treachery. I didn't think they would attempt the entire ritual this night but it's up to us now to put a stop to it. The whole universe is at stake."

I believe my patron but am not sure what to do. The book is now floating in mid-air and, along with the orb, is glowing brightly. The spacemen are chanting even louder and faster and their chest beams are blindingly bright.

My patron leaps down onto the deck and starts wrestling with Damon. I hear Damon screaming,

"It's too late! You've lost!" The night sky suddenly rips open and the entire horizon in front of and above me becomes a glaring Hellscape. I see flaming mountains and the husks of dead planets floating above strange peaks. Unbelievably large god-things start climbing out of this sky, setting their long legs into the lake. The lake water hisses and turns foul.

The gods are skinny and long-limbed and black as pitch. Their skin is rough and crusted. Their heads are like old, worn brooms turned upside down. They moan with a roar that deafens.

I run down the rocky path and jump into the water, swimming as fast as I can to a spaceman. I climb on his rock and shove him into the water, interrupting him. I swim to the other and knock him down. I pass by the very leg of the interloping god-thing and am afraid.

My plan seems to have worked, though, and as the spacemen's connection with the book and orb breaks the gods are drawn back into their sky-portal. I swim back to the deck in time to see that Damon has called upon his personal army: a crowd of hardcore straight-edge teens. I get on my phone and ask every one of my facebook friends to come fight Matt Damon. My friends all do battle with the straight-edge kids and in the chaos I grab the giant book and run up the cliff.

I meet my patron.

"You have done well. We have stopped this madness for now." I ask him what the book is. "It is a true book of Genesis. Nothing like the old testaments that you humans cling to, but the actual word of the god-things transmitted to cave-dwelling prophets thousands of years ago. They were insane, and snippets of their prophecies were mis-interpreted and shoved into what your christians call 'the bible.' Damon and his ilk re-created this book by resurrecting these insane old prophets and extracting their thoughts. The orb is a quantum computer that was parsing the book and using its secrets to open the portal. The spacemen are highly trained cyberspace cosmonauts who were programming the quantum computer via optical transmitters in their chests."

I ask him what now.

"We are done, I guess we'll just throw the book into the lake." He does so. I meet up with A_____ M_____, a friend from college, and we drink beer at a nearby bar.

pre-web social networking

2013-04-16 10:38:56

I recently finished reading a book from 1996 called The Internet Instant Reference.

Source: Uploaded by user via Nathaniel on Pinterest

One thing in particular stuck out to me. Throughout many of the entries in the book Unix servers were mentioned. This book was written in a time when access to the internet was as simple (?) as dialing a phone number that connected your modem to a Unix server running somewhere like a University or business. This server was connected to the Internet's backbone and from there you could use a variety of programs--telnet, elm, www, gopher, ftp--and access the rest of the world.

In order to connect to one of these Unix servers you needed a user account. Accompanying this account was a personal space for files (like /home/<username>, some information about yourself (accessed via finger <username>, and an email address (like <username>@<servername>).

Once logged in a user shared a server with many other people: perhaps hundreds. One could see who else was logged in (who -a), send them a local email (mail <username>), and even instant message with other users (talk <username>).

But what of users on other Unix servers? How did you know who was where? Using the whois command one could search for users on other machines. Once located, they could use telnet to access that machine (if allowed) and chat with them; or send them email.

This is reminiscent of our 21st century social networks like Facebook and Myspace as well as our late 20th century super-BBSs like AOL or CompuServe. Yet there are some key differences:

So what is there to learn from this historical delving? Most glaringly, I feel it exposes a number of lies that we have as a society been accepting for over a decade now: that the Web is the only way to interact with the Internet; that social activities require centralization; that advertising is necessary to support Internet/Web activities; and that only corporations know best how to govern human interaction online.

This is not much of a conspiracy theory. As my father taught me when considering such things, one must only "follow the money" to deduce reasonable motivations for similar situations. For corporations, centralized and web-based social networking means they can commoditize private information and sesll it to advertising firms. For users, web-based social networking simply means convenience and perceived ease-of-use.

I posit that by taking the lessons from pre-web social networking we can build simpler Unix-style networking tools that provide all of the non-corporate social networking advantages enumerated above but with a friendlier user interface by leveraging the Web as little more than a GUI toolkit.

[1]: There were, however, Acceptable Use Policies that governed how one could use a server. AUPs remain a farcry from the modern Terms of Use.

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