Been a long time since i rock and rolled...

Hey everyone,
been about three years since I posted here. Recently I've found myself constructing political / philosophical / scientific arguments and narratives spontaneously, in increasing volume, so I'm anticipating a return to blogging as a form of self expression...

There's something about the notion of a blog that I find repulsive... but I can't really articulate how or why.

It could be just, I view it mainly as a calisthenic thing for my own benefit rather than a service provided for the readers, because the thoughts are usually rambling and not so well organized, as they should be if the writing is really for the reader's benefit?

One solution is obviously to become a better writer.

Regardless, I suspect I'm going to have to get over whatever it is, because sending spurious off-the-cuff insane ramblings to snoogums is rapidly losing a viability as a method of self-expression... somehow I'm realizing I have little or no personal connection to many people on the list now, most of the posts are just garbage.

Also, I kinda got the heebie-jeebies at my last visit to Caltech... I realized that, returning to that place is not going to make my memories stronger, its going to make them weaker.

To the extent that those memories are crucial to my current conception of myself, they must be preserved at all costs... Which means I must now embark on the journey of the rest of my life, with this concept of a place preserved at my core, but yet not returning, nor trying to articulate or explain it to others... (this effort usually ends in failure in my experience).

I find this echoes some of Everett's earlier posts... depending on ones current mood, the words and images conjured up relating to the Caltech Experience vary so wildly...

I don't feel it was madness. Surely there were more crazed and confused periods especially towards the beginning. But to my mind the whole period was not unlike the ways that I would faux-stumble walk around, kicking open doors... Goldstein once would laugh at the "incredibly haphazard way in which you do things, Chris Beck"... I don't know how many of my friends came to realize that this was entirely intentional, something that I did that expressed the way life can feel so crazy and haphazard, but that so much of it is superficial. It also gave me a feeling of control, I suppose.

One of my fondest memories will be one time Krastina and I went to Venice Beach, and we were walking by the water, and I was sort of doing this weaving thing as I walked, at first to avoid stepping in the waves with my bare feet, but afterwards just to preserve the oscillations, and I sort of stepped in, still totally "haphazardly" and scooped her up in my arms, and spun rapidly, so that her body was held close to mine but her legs flew out from under her, and I spun her for 3 or 4 times, and then set her down completely in stride and we continued walking. She said something afterwards like, "I think that is what I will remember of today."

Another quote that comes to mind although I can't quite remember it, was due to Brandi around the time she graduated... it was something about, how she will forever miss the place and the people, but how we are all preserved in eachothers' hearts... Realize reader, that I intended to work this in when I first mentioned the idea that I must preserve these memories without revisiting the places... but I got completely sidetracked with other ideas that came to mind, a Fundamental Flaw in my capricious, rambling narrative.

Of course I could defend the rambling narrative as a style if I wanted, its the post-modern, rejection of the unbiased viewpoint, rejection of these arbitrary style rules, its Gonzo Journalism, Man, its the only thing that's really expressive and meaningful, its the only kind of narrative that any one cares about.

But that would all be some kind of horseshit cocktail, served up on the rocks. When the little voice tells you, your writing is needlessly disorganized, you need to fix it. This is why I don't like blogging. This is also why I like snoogums, because no email is too trashy for snoogums. Its the fuckin wild west of prose & poetry.

Oh, I wanted to point everyone to this essay, from about 5 years back. The shared concern of two Princeton Professors concerning the future of Computer Science Education & Policy. I thought it was certainly worth glancing at, if not actually reading.


Lemme know what you think, Biffmotron, in particular.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that, while I'm not aiming to bring We Alone on Earth down to "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly", I am shooting personally for something more like, say, 19th century France. (think Evariste Galois). If you've got a bone to pick with that, well sir, I challenge you to a duel.


  1. "kinda got the heebie-jeebies at my last visit to Caltech"

    ... yep. can't go home.

    p.s. : I deleted some of the more obviously insane ramblings from here once I realized that my MIT grad app indirectly linked here and got paranoid. They are in the /media/caltech/dabney/ directory "Archives of Last Tuesday", along with Biffmotron's full "Pepto-Bismol incident" report.

  2. yeah, i feel like...

    now that I have to be a "real person" i want to hide those things

    but i suspect the more i become successful, the more of that stuff I will bring out and repost on facebook/ other places.

    i'm not afraid to admit my cowardice in that way... i think it will be more fun to poke fun at myself rather than leave all the skeletons in the closets. We can have a skeleton party!

    also I realized I should clarify this:

    "something that I did that expressed the way life can feel so crazy and haphazard, but that so much of it is superficial"

    so much of it seems that way (crazy unplanned haphazard and senseless) but really at the grand scale it isn't. its like, look guys, the boat is supposed to be rocking, its a fucking boat. so you might as well heel it way over and get used to it, get the hang of things, maybe it helps others by example? or just do it because, man, thats just how you roll.

  3. to expound upon your metaphor

    i don't know.. I keep falling overboard, others have drowned.

  4. So I feel like Sometime When I Have Time And Ideas I'll want to write a blog. But I will not want it to imitate life any more than books should imitate life. The blog post can be its own art form, of which, say, this is a superb example:

    This is telling of my outlook, perhaps, but it doesn't fit in with the boat metaphor. On the other hand, if what you said about haphazardness is true, you are really this way also. But I don't believe this, not entirely.

    When I was younger -- around frosh year -- people claimed I looked like Galois.

    And snoogums is still a good place for ramblings. Even better, perhaps, now that it is not of us.

  5. weallliveinjapan is dabney ? would you like edit permissions on this blog ? ( i don't actually know who you are ).

  6. Oh that reminds me... I've been interviewing for grad programs and one question that the other grad students seem to always ask is "anyone here from Caltech ... which house".

  7. I'm Feddy. Edit permissions sounds cool. I don't know if I'd ever use it. (Oh, but this I'm posting from is a wordpress profile; I don't really want barglesnarfs (dot) blogspot.com to be connected to something with (effectively) my name on it, via a blogspot profile. This may be more work than it's worth.)

    As for coming back. In the end the mysticism of place is a charade and it's harmful to expect it to induce a connection all by itself. We are not Dabney, just some people who happened to live there. This goes against the house system propaganda, of course. But I haven't been back yet. We'll see in a few days whether it wants me to paint it.

  8. ".blogspot" is a regrettable artifact of the original choice of platform. I believe one can host the blog at a custom URL, and even store the database not-on-google (but still use blogger interface and toolkit) if you try hard enough, but I don't really have the time/knowhow to implement such things.