The next step in Things to Be Afraid Of

Radiation hazard? Ridiculously old-tech. Biohazard? Oh, please–that’s so last century.

No, the sexy, trendy new menace to human existance is nanohazards–nanotech run amok and covering the earth in a gray goo of microscopic, self-replicating machines.

And now you can be the first on your block to own the T-shirt warning of this menace!

Originally designed for my upcoming party, this design has been so popular that we’ve actually done a screen-print run and put it up at the Villain Tees Web site.

It’s the cutting edge of dangers to all humanity!

Tales from a long, busy week

The uninteresting stuff

Last week, I got a frantic call from a client; they needed me to fly out on short notice to Los Angeles to do a page-pairing software install and training at the LA times.

It was the worst. job. ever. Napolean had a better day at Waterloo than I did on the site. Anyone who doesn’t care about the techie stuff should skip this bit and read the next section, which is a helluva lot more interesting and involves ame_chan.

Software is protected by a parallel port dongle. Server systems had no parallel ports. No prob; that’s why God invented the PCI parallel port card? right?

Neh. Server has PCI-X slots. The parallel port card didn’t start a fire, but only because the power supplies shut down fast enough.

On the phone til 4AM with the software vendor, in Great Britain. Posted a new build on their FTP server, no parallel port dongle needed. Downloaded. Installed. Bugs. It refuses to let clients connect. Neh neh neh.

More time on the phone. Frantic at this point. Finally got the system running and stable just mere minutes before the client needed to start page pairing.

Just for the record, I rock. Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

And now the interesting bit

The trip wasn’t a total wash. While I didn’t get a chance to meet up with trinker, which was kdisappointing, I did get the opportunity to meet the lovely ame_chan and part of her family.

Indeed, she even invited me into her home and made dinner–and tea!–for me.

I was able to meet a couple of her partners, and some of her partner’s partners, all absolutely warm and delightful people. It was by far the high point of the trip, and I’m fortunate to have met all of them.

Sucks that they live so damn far away, though. I’m building a substantial network of friends in far-flung corners of the country, and it’s frustrating.

We choose the world we live in

It’s easy to become cynical about the nature of humanity, especially if you watch Fox News. There is unquestionably great evil in man, and sometimes, it becomes fashioable–trendy, even–to see the world through a veil of world-weary cynicism and bitterness.

But we choose the world we live in. A person who sees the good in things and a person who sees the evil in things both see the truth, for things are rarely completely good or completely evil, but they live in very different worlds.

I like living in a world that recognizes opportunity and connection. Lately, I have been blessed by meeting and connecting with people–ame_chan, dawnd and her family, purplespark and others–who have, sight unseen, welcomed me into their homes, offered me their friendship, or both. I met altenra on a business trip to San Francisco several years ago, and she showed me a face of the city I’ve never seen; spending time with her has become a high point of my trips back.

In a world where cynicism and mistrust come easily, there are people who are warm and open nonetheless. In a world where people often mock the transient and ephemeral nature of online friendships, there are people whose friendship is enduring, no matter how you meet them.

And ame_chan, you can be my tea bitch any time you like. 🙂

Makin’ progress…

The cross is nearly finished!

What cross, you ask?

Glad you asked. The St. Andrew’s cross–a fixture among us BDSM folk–which I just made for Shelly, and which she seems to believe I’ll be tied to for the “birthday floggings” she seems to believe I’m due to receive.

It looks really, really good; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Doesn’t it look cool???


What, is it a full moon and I don’t know about it? This morning, i got panicked calls from three different clients in three different parts of the country–“My computer won’t boot!” I was doing crisis management until two thirty this afternoon. Grr.

Just found out I’m going to LA on business this weekend. Flying out Sunday, doing an install Monday and Tuesday, flying back Tuesday night. This is NOT going to be fun…

Putting the finishing touches on a St. Andrew’s Cross I’m building for Shelly, which is fun, even if she does have this silly and misguided notion that I’m going to be tied to it during my birthday party. 🙂 I don’t recall birthday floggings as part of the tradition…

Redecorated the computer room, too, a process that involved a good deal of chain and a lot of drywall anchors. Pics later.

Random stuffness

“Oh, yes, you’re going to get birthday floggings. And just so you know, I’m not very good at math.”

Show me the love, baby!

98% Of The Internet Loves Me!
I am loved by 98% of the population, including:
3113 people who love night people
1698 people who love programmers
1025 people who love masochists

In return, I love 93% of the population, including:
1534 liberals
2237 writers
2058 people who wear sweaters
show the love at

Your Moment of Zen
Hidden behind a cut tag for your convenience
Work-safe, mostly

Let’s party!

If you’re reading this, you’re invited to a glimpse into mankind’s future at the home of Franklin, Shelly, and Kelly, on March 20, 2004. Events begin at 7 PM and will extend far into the night.

– This invitation is open to any adult human, augmented human, human hybrid, or cybernetic organism.

Machine intelligences as defined by Turing Act section 501(c)(3), and bio-mechanical intelligences as defined by Turing Act section 507(b), are welcome provided they are accompanied by a human chaperone and they have a valid Turing Registry ID number. 507(b) entities must also have current CDC certification that the organic component of the entity is non-infectious.


– The house is a Class “C” nanohazard area, owing to an unfortunate accident with some self-replicators. Standard nanohazard quarantine and decontamination protocols will be in effect. We don’t want any of the little buggers getting out…

– Alcohol will be provided. Other toxic organic solvents will be served only if you make special arrangements beforehand.

For more information, please visit the Party Page on the Web. If you live behind a firewall that blocks access to the Xero site, you can visit the mirror site instead.

On the Nature of Things

“Never do your enemy a small hurt. Never let your enemy know he’s your enemy until it’s too late.”

A few weeks ago, I loaned my copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince to Shelly.

Her reaction? “I don’t see what the fuss is all about. I don’t understand why so many people find Machiavelli offensive. He’s just writing the truth. It seems pretty obvious to me.”

Which, of course, is precisely why people find him offensive. He writes, in plain and accessible language, without flinching, the truth about some part of what makes us what we are.

But I didn’t come here to talk about Machiavelli. I came here to talk about illusion.

We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are

Or perhaps, as we want it to be.

Machiavelli’s The Prince has been banned in a multitude of places. So have books like Lord of the Flies and Kafka’s The Trial. These books don’t impugn religion or offend sexual mores, yet people find them threatening nonetheless.

It’s all about the sex

There’s a conversation going on elsewhere on LiveJournal right now about the value of honesty–or more specifically, about the value of telling one’s lover if one cheats on that person.

Many people will weigh in in favor of deceit, of course. That’s not surprising; a self-serving rationalization to justify avoiding the consequences of one’s behavior is about as common as a snowflake in Maine.

What’s surprising, though, is the number of people who say that if a lover were to cheat on them, they would not want to know. Indeed, many people don’t even want to know something as basic as their lover’s past!

Take off your shoes, and we will keep you safe

When I flew to San Francisco for MacWorld last month, boarding was delayed because the airline security people asked the passengers to put their shoes on the X-ray conveyer belt.

People do not act in accordance with the truth; they act in accordance with what they believe to be true

All of these things–prefering a lover’s lie to the truth, putting your shoes on the conveyer belt, banning a book–are really the same. Ultimately, each of these things serves to protect an illusion.

As human beings, we continually re-invent the world around us. To some extent, this is necessary; our perception of the world is limited by our senses and by our past experience. Filtering is a necessary way to make sense of the world.

But the person who bans The Prince, the person who prefers a lover’s lie, and the person who puts his shoes on the converer belt are all engaged in something more. They are actively seeking to protect and preserve an illusion–a deliberately constructed, carefully maintained falsehood.

The Prince is threatening because it exposes an illuson about human nature. It shatters the fiction that people are basically good and just, that we are far too enlightened to be manipulated in these ways. Machiavelli rubs our noses in our own human weaknesses, in the fact that not only can we be manipulated and led, but that, ultimately, we like to be manipulated and led. It’s easier than doing the work ourselves.

People like to preserve illusions about their lovers, and about themselves–they like to fabricate a fantasy in which true love conquers all, their lovers are faithful and act with integrity, that their lover’s lives and their lover’s past did not exist before that wonderous day when they fell in love.

People don’t always seek romantic relationships because they want to know the truth about themselves and their partner, and want the intimacy that knowledge brings; often, they seek romantic relationships because they are trapped between fear of loneliness on one side and their own insecurities on the other. Such a relationship benefits from fiction; the fiction is easier than the truth, because the fiction protects insecurity and the truth does not.

And the shoes on the X-ray belt? They create the illusion of security, without actually creating real security. Real security is expensive. Real security is inconvenient.

A commercial passenger flight would be far safer if the baggage on the flight were matched to a passenger on that flight in every instance,a nd if the airlines took steps to make sure a person could not put a package onto an airplane without actually boarding that airplane himself.

But this checking (which is standard on some non-US airlines) creates logistical complication and expense; and at the end of the day, the airlines know that the risk of terrorist attack is incredibly slim anyway. It is not, in the final analysis, worth the effort and expense to create real security; the illusion of secuirty is good enough to keep people flying.

Reality is a scary place

In the real world, people are lazy and want to be led. In the real world, people can and do betray their vows, and sometimes, those actions have consequences. In the real world, people make mistakes, and those mistakes affect others. In the real world, the universe is not especially interested in coddling insecurities. And in the real world, dedicated people with patience and evil can and sometimes do find a way to knock an airplane out of the sky, and flying without risk has never been and will never be possible.

And in spite of all that, the real world is still a better place to live. When we rise above our illusions, we become more enlightened.

Things to Consider

The devil’s work has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.

The enemy of my enemy is my tactical consideration.

Live like you’re going to die tomorrow, love like you enjoy having your heart broken, dance like you don’t know you’re a klutz. (My archnemesis Eric)

Never trust a skinny cook or a poly person with a twin-sized bed.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I got my needles today! Yay!

Last week, I ordered 125 sterile needles from a medical supply store, since Shelly and I want to try doing some needle play. They arrived today…yay us!

Which reminds me, in an indirect way…Shelly’s thinking she wants to head down to Fetish Factory some time soon to expand her wardrobe, and I figure as long as we’re driving all the way down to Ft. Lauderdale, we might as well stick around for one of their parties. Hey, gadget_girl, you listening? When’s the next party down there?