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Category: strays

01/04/09 07:26 - 31ºF - ID#47283

The Stray Commentaries: Number Two

The Black Dog


Sorry I can't provide you with the text. I want to try to sell this and the magazines want first text publication. I hope you enjoy.

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Category: explore buffalo

12/30/08 10:28 - ID#47223

One Way The Wrong Way

Dear car drivers who persist in trying to kill me:

I am sure that I don't know any of you personally, and as such I cannot determine at what point in my life I have managed to wrong you. But, as you have made it abundantly clear to me (no less than four times) that you wish to see me flattened like a bug under the tires of your car on South Division Street in down town Buffalo, I am forced to speculate: why?

Perhaps my running theory that the people of Buffalo are in fact pseudo-Canadians has upset some secret cabal. The evidence is clear to anyone who wants to think about it. Most of us drink Canadian Beer, and of course there is our obsession with Hockey, and I have to admit that while flipping the channels on my television I, like many of you, have stopped for an hour to watch Curling for no explainable reason. Yet, somehow, proffering a secret cabal as the central source of the four attempts on my life seems too far fetched.

Perhaps it's that girl I met on New Years four years ago. We hit it off fairly nice for two heavy drinkers. But then, sometime later, I just decided to never call her again. I couldn't afford a relationship that required a fifth of rum and a fifth of whiskey on every date. To this day, when she sees me walking down the street she will roll down her window and just scream at me - no words - just a blood chilling banshee scream of an addict that lost their free source of junk. It seems almost conceivable that she could escalate to attempting to run me down with her car, and her friends were crazy too...

Yet, no - that is not the reason I was nearly run over by four cars today.

The real reason is you, crazy car driver. You know who you are! You Sabres jersey wearing lunatic! You only come downtown when there is a game, so you're completely fucking lost down there in a rat maze of streets. Now you never bothered to invest in seasonal parking to go along with your season tickets, no you just drive around looking for something on the street - maybe, you think, the genie of cheap parking will materialize in front of me and grant my wish for something close to the dome. But there is no genie, and then you're running late, the game is about to start, and that incredible amount of money you spent on season tickets starts to itch at your conscience.

You and several hundred other cars are all trying to make their way to the dome down Washington Street, bumper to bumper, and you spot it. An open street, you could go around this Bull Shit. Why didn't anyone else see such an obvious short cut? So you slam on the accelerator and before you can sing LETS GO SABRES! you're heading west down South Division Street and nearly collide with a pedestrian.

Yes, crazy car driver, that was me in the gray wool coat with the tan scarf screaming, "WHAT THE FUCK!?" as you nearly ran me over. You see, South Division is what we metropolitan people like to call a one way street. And you, are what I like to call an Asshat. You and the other three idiots who followed right after you. Up South Division to a wall of confused traffic waiting at the Main Street and Church Street light. No doubt you were shitting bricks when you were almost side swiped by the train.

We look forward to having you all back in the metropolitan area soon!

Best Regards,


P.S. Buy a tom-tom.
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Category: explore buffalo

12/26/08 12:07 - 27ºF - ID#47188

The Bus Drivers

Anyone interested in studying the effects of absolute rule on the human psyche might do well to look to Bus Drivers. You can almost see the faces of every king and queen that ever lived in the eyes of these monarchs of the road. Each imposing tolls, monitoring immigration and emigration with the variability of every form of rule there could be: I have met bus drivers who would let you on if you flashed a gray napkin with a number on it, and others who would argue your right to ride the bus based on where the issuing driver chose to punch your day pass.

The Number fourteen is ruled from six until midnight by an insane time czar. The universe could not be as accurate as his arrival and departure schedules. A curb popping despot with terrifying accelerations and brakes, I have heard him screaming holy hell out his slide window at any car driving heretic in the way of his accurateness. "Come on you cocksucker! FUCK YOU!" I've seen him leave flag waving old women standing at the stop for being a minute behind. Once I swear I felt him bump a car in front of us out of the way, but none of us said anything and the car didn't chase us.

In the afternoon and late morning somewhere on The Number Twenty you may find yourself in the domain of Time Thief. A robber baron of a bus driver, who has learned to fold time out of his schedules to further his own ends. Driving from the bus station at North Division he floors the accelerator, only choosing to pick up those stops that have large crowds. Goodbye single business woman on Delaware and Huron, see you later chic marketing man, catch the next one in ten minutes - The Time Thief has just stolen your minutes. Rocketing up the street he eventually comes to the stop at Elmwood and Forrest, pulling to the side he turns off the bus, and as we watch in confusion he closes the doors and goes into the Mobil Quick Mart on stolen time. A piss and a coffee purchase later, we're back on the road and still on schedule.

What does it really mean to be "On Time"? It's open to interpretation, whose time really matters most in the monarchy of the bus driver? I will warn you this way: woe to those who argue with the keeper of the doors, for they will kick your ass back out onto the sidewalk even after you've deposited your fare.

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Category: strays

01/03/09 07:16 - 21ºF - ID#47267

The Stray Commentaries: Number One


Underemployment: Humanity Chomping at the bit

As technology advances, people with certain skills formerly in prominence find themselves unemployed, made unfortunate and obsolete by the march of machines. But, few ever consider the unfortunate problem of those whose talents have yet to find a niche at all. What would Mozart have done before the invention of the piano? What would Van Gogh have painted before the invention of vibrantly colored paints? What sort of empire would Napoleon have had without gunpowder? The world is awash in an epidemic of underemployment, talented people without a socially acceptable outlet. All over the world humans are engaged in strange practices that could one day manifest as the single edge required to reach a new historical plateau. For better or worse, humanity is chomping at the bit of its true potential for tyranny and liberty. Old Man Burroughs warned us in an essay entitled, "The Coming of The Purple Better One" that "The aggressive southern ape will block your way to space." A symbol for the conservative warmongers, the aggressive southern ape aims to use all technology as a club and block any progressive potential.

The technology currently being researched by the government of the aggressive southern ape will ensure a more complete tyranny for the future, and reduce the time required to conquer small countries to mere hours. Soldiers riding in armored, robotic exoskeletons will run at vehicle speed and be impervious to small arms fire. Linked to a centralized command that will be able to correlate their sensory inputs to adjust combat strategy in real-time, no fleshy insurgency will stand a gooey oozing bloody chance. Semi-autonomous, all-terrain robots will provide logistical support without need for roads or direct supervision. Semi-autonomous flight drones will run constant surveillance, and provide cover fire for their semi-autonomous machine gun carrying brothers. No longer suffering the weakness of human frailty, these robots will bind together the future military into a metallic force to be feared. What underemployed talent pool, you ask, lies at the heart of these robotic storm troopers of our vast future empire? The caffeine-twitchy, obese children, mashing buttons on their video game controllers are the genocide reaping soldiers of the future. Their button clicking pudgy fingers are wearing jackboots; I can hear them coming now.

No tyranny is to be without its own underground resistance force. Indeed, the future resistance will require a human capable of pursuing supply vehicles across impossible terrain. A human willing and capable to personally plant improvised explosives on the back of an armored exoskeleton, and then dodge away from the hail storm of fifty caliber rounds spewed forth from the cyborgs ammo-hopper when it explodes. The resistance will need humans able to perform feats of daring acrobatics in urban environments to avoid surveillance drones. Who, you ask, what force of underemployed supermen can perform such feats? The impressive, fit practitioners of free running will not stand for the limits placed on them by the southern ape agenda. These future soldiers of the underground will fight off the robot hordes that are the military pipe dream of the aggressive southern ape, and help to clear our way to space.

Every time a man tosses himself from the top of a building with a parachute just to enjoy the fall, the world should think, there goes another desperate spaceman looking for employment. Any business person with an office above the fiftieth floor should not be calling the police to have these thrill seekers imprisoned by the ape administration. No! Instead they should be helping to clear a way to space. The future space laborer lives in the heart and strong stomach of the BASE jumper. In the soul of the human willing to take risks for the joy of freefall lays the space faring potential of our species. We here on space station earth need to foster their semi-suicidal risk taking for the benefit of us all. But, no, says the aggressive southern ape, the unrestrained class of climber-jumpers must be understood for the real threat they pose. People seeking to upset the ape agenda with boundary pushing practices must be stopped. In the post-911 world, these insurgent threats must be shipped off, preferably to some far away Prison Island to preserve civilian calm and bring balance and mediocrity to the population.


Sarcos: Robot Exoskeleton Manufacturers
Robotic Exoskeleton Story By Ed Yeates of KSL
FutureWeapons Coverage of The Crusher Robot Vehicle

Wikipedia: Free Running
Wikipedia: Parkour

BASE jumping
BASE jumpers who have died for the feeling of free fall

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Category: books

12/24/08 04:57 - 46ºF - ID#47174

Anathem and The Long Now Foundation

Last night I downloaded a very interesting book, which I am listening to in audio while I work. The book is by Neal Stephenson, the author of The Baroque Cycle and a few other cyberpunk classics like The Cryptonomicon. This book is titled Anathem and is for the reader or listener who enjoys the experience of imagining other cultures through fiction, and exploring their deep histories and linguistic differences as a lens to understand our own. So, if you enjoyed the epic scope of Frank Herbert's DUNE, or J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings (or if you had the gumption to read through Tolkien's notes on elf language, or the mind melting cosmology of The Silmarillion) then I have no doubt that this book is for you.

I will not waste time giving you a plot summary, which you can find here on wikipedia, or by looking it up on Amazon. What interests me more about this book is the connection it has with The Long Now Foundation in San Francisco. I have been following the doings of this foundation for some time, because they have a wonderful monthly podcast where scientists and leading thinkers of our day are free to speculate about the next 10,000 years.

The book itself budded out of the continuation of Stephenson's involvements with the foundation on their most ambitious project of creating The Clock of the Long Now, or the 10,000 year clock - a sort of every lasting sign of human ingenuity and a inspiration for thinkers to think not towards short term horizons, but toward long term horizons measured in near geological timescales.

The chimes for the clock itself were developed by Brian Eno using algorithms to ensure that each time it chimes it will be different than the last.

Proceeds from the sale of books, and a number of other items related to the world of Anathem through the Long Now Foundation's website go towards the 10,000 year clock fund.
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