Old Mothers

They don’t die, they just wither away. Time waits for no man (or woman). Happy birthday, you are now an octogenarian.

A little tribute. Bet nobody ever honored your day with this one. Enjoy. Looking forward to the next -genarian shift in a decade’s time.

Your loving son,
Lars G.

Smartphones And Other High Tech Bric-A-Brac

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of this guy Marques Brownlee‘s tech videos on the YouTube. He’s a very likeable super nerd who apparently knows everything about everything that’s worth knowing about computers, tablets, smartphones, apps, operating systems etc., and he’s only nineteen(!) years old and much wiser than his age would indicate.

Watching his videos gives me an irrational urge to go out and buy a smartphone which is so out of character for me it’s in a different galaxy or even universe, partly Luddite as I am. But there’s so much to choose from out there; Windows phones, iPhones, Android phones, even Ubuntu phones, small ones, big ones, phone/tablet hybrids so I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Add to that my disdain for being hooked up to the cyber world 24/7 and everybody knowing everything about me and my recent rants against Google and Facebook for being douchebags and my cognitive dissonance on the subject becomes even more obvious. Smartphones may be a trick that this dog is too old to learn properly. Or the straw that broke the camel’s back; pick your metaphor.

I actually own a cell phone (non-smart) that was given too me years ago accompanied by a pay-as-you-go plan. You could roll over your minutes one month, but after that you forfeited whatever was left in your account. Which I think is banditry of the third kind (that’s a movie reference from before Marques was even born) at high noon. It’s been sitting quite dead in the glove compartment of my car for years now and I don’t even know how to reactivate it.

I’m also quite unhappy with the planned obsolescence policy all phone/tablet makers seem to employ as their marketing strategy. Add a new hyped up feature, a new wizzbang super-duper trick to the device a couple of times a year or so and all the millennials bite and line up days in advance of the release date outside stores to get the latest magic phone assembled by suicidal slaves in China.

Clearly I’m not a millennial (actually I’m a mid-to-late boomer; I’ve got more than a decade left before I qualify for Medicare if they don’t change the rules and if I should be so lucky to live that long) and not the target demographic of the tech companies. I thought it was a big deal when we got color TV way back in the day. I bought my first computer ca 1990. No mouse, no Windows. Everything had to be opened through DOS and multitasking was an unknown concept. Viruses spread by infected floppy disks (google it if you’re unfamiliar with ancient technology). It had a 25 megabyte hard drive, a quarter meg of RAM and a clock speed of 25 Hz and was considered bleeding edge at the time. Truth is it was more like a glorified typewriter that you also could play Pacman on. I didn’t get on the Internet until 2000 because I was convinced it was a fad that would go away.

I was able to keep up with the breakneck speed of tech development for a while, even taught myself how to build websites, do affiliate marketing by bombarding the Internet with mini sites (literally thousands built by hand without any auto-generating software) and make some pocket change out of it. Then some douchebag came along and invented Web 2.0, social media, wearable tech and my aging CPU (the one inside my head) wasn’t quite able to keep up anymore. I can still see the train in front of me, but it’s pulling away and the image is blurred by the dust it’s throwing up.

I’m still hanging on by the skin of my teeth, but I think it’s gonna be a long while (if ever) before I buy a smartphone, or a smart watch, or Google Glass or whatever the next fancy gadget they come up with. Because what the fuck would I do with it? Play Pacman?

The Geezer Hits Fifty-Four — Group Thanks To All Well-Wishers

Yesterday I was fifty-three years old. Today I am fifty-four. It is a reasonable guesstimate that I have roughly thirty-or-so years left in me before I kick the bucket and return to a state of non-being.

Generic thanks to all well-wishers whether you mean it or not. Special thanks to my mother who ejected me from her womb that fateful day in 1959 so I could enjoy this wonderful life, and also to my wife Marianne who continues to stick it out with me. She could have done much better.

Fun fact: For the next 10 months I’ll be fifty-four and she’ll be forty-five. That probably is interesting only to those who subscribe to the not-even-pseudo-science of numerology, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

Enjoy the rest of your day. I will.

Social Attitude Test

I just took an online Social Attitude Test, and this is how it came out. I’m normally not a fan of political and social pigeonholing. I’m more complex than that. This is what a random Internet site thought of me. Take It for what it is. Probably not much.

Social-Attitude-Test

In A Cosmic Bubble Far, Far Away…

…I may be the guitar hero of my teenage dreams.

The foam universe theory is the theory that our universe is just a bubble in a foam of countless (I hesitate to use the word “infinite” even though it’s practically a synonym, for the simple reason that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, be it numerically, temporally and spatially) other universes (I’m reading Lawrence Krauss on and off at the moment, and he knows this stuff). Some of these universes may differ greatly from the one we inhabit, others only slightly or imperceptibly. Another term for this theory is the multi-verse theory.

Lars Dahl winning the inaugural Harald’s Gym club contest in Oslo, 1980. What a cocky little bastard he was!

Some of you may or may not know that I played guitar (not very well) in a band in my teenage years and dreamed of becoming a rock star. My first guitar was a Wilson copy of a Gibson SG stained deep mauve that I nagged my mother to sign off on for a payment plan. All of you should by now know that that dream didn’t turn out very well for me and I pursued other avenues in life (still searching, by the way). I discovered girls for one thing (ironically enough through my meager fame as a guitar player in a band), sold off all my music gear and bought a car, a Vauxhall Viva ca late 1960s with plenty of rust (which also proved very reliable as a pussy magnet), but it ran even though I didn’t have my license yet and by the time I was 20 all dreams of rock stardom were gone and I was hellbent on becoming the biggest, baddest bodybuilding motherfucker the world had ever seen (this didn’t come to fruition either, but that’s a different bag of spoiled shrimp.)

Most people have solidly established their preferences in music, art, food, literature, movies etc. in the formative teen years of their lives, hence, e.g., my love for classic 1970s rock music. There are very few new bands/musicians that I’ve really latched on to in a big way in later years. For me it’s always going to be Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, AC/DC and so on and so forth. (I was also going to mention KISS, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I still like them. Quite a lot, actually.) With two very noticeable exceptions.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Around 1990 (I would have been 30-or-so years old), I discovered Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and got hooked. I mean really hooked. Not a bad word about Jimi Hendrix (true and tragic trailblazer as he was), but these guys could have played circles around him, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their backs, and it wasn’t just showing off either, guitar masturbation if you will. They create and play real music, wonderful music, unbelievable music where the guitar is the centerpiece and not just a tool that produces mind-numbing riffs for traditional heavy rock (still not taking anything away from the classics, understand; I mean, who can get the opening riffs of Rock & Roll, Smoke On The Water, School’s Out and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath out of their minds, even if they tried?). But if you really want to have your mind blown away and your socks knocked off at the same time, watch Steve Vai: Where the Wild Things Are in a live recording from Minneapolis in 2009. Like it or be square!

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Imagine my surprise, then, as I surfed Wikipedia (as I often do when I’m bored; I find it to be a wonderful and surprisingly accurate source of all kinds of information (and I even recently made an edit to an article that got accepted)), and found out that there was very little that separated Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and yours truly, both temporally and spatially in our early years. Joe Satriani was born 1956 in Westbury, NY; Steve Vai in Carl Place, NY 1960; and myself in Oyster Bay, New York, 1959. Three small towns all located in Nassau County on Long Island. We were practically within pissing distance from each other; Steve Vai even took guitar lessons from Joe Satriani around 1970. Of course, by that time and in this universe, due to circumstance beyond my control, I had moved to Norway where I would spend the next 30 years of my life.

In a different bubble in the foam-verse it is entirely possible (or so Lawrence Krauss insists) that I might have hooked up with Joe and Steve and formed the most awesomest guitar based band in rock history, no matter which bubble we’re comparing with.

I still have a Fender Stratocaster and a small Marshall combo amp gathering dust somewhere in the house; haven’t touched it for years and I am just as untalented a guitarist as I was when I was 16. So I didn’t get to be a guitar hero in this life or universe, but I am still very happy that i discovered Joe and Steve. I even got to see Steve Vai in concert in Oslo, Norway, in the early 1990s; a small, but not insignificant experience in my life. I am forever grateful for their musical genius. Music is one of a very few things that bring joy to my life, and these guys deliver. Domo arigato, mio amigos!

And I can always dream that I’m performing with my could’ve-been–buddies Joe and Steve in any number of bubble-verses out there. Maybe I’ll even dust off my guitar some day and annoy the neighbors just for the heck of it.

Finally I’m not saying that good music isn’t made today (Shinedown would be a good example of a departure from my 1970s rule), and it would be unfair to contemporary bands anyway, to compare them to the legends of the 60s and 70s. First of all there is much more competition these days, and it’s my firm belief that the pool of truly inspired music and musicians making it bigtime (earning it through talent, hard work and sheer practice, rather than through corporate sponsorship and promotion) is very small. At the risk of sounding like my Mother, “it all sounds like they’re skinning a live cat”. I also doubt very strongly that 50 years from now people will be standing in line for days for tickets to a Justin Bieber or Britney Spears concert

Reading Fatigue

Adapted from “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger with later additions by Joe Hickerson.

Where have all the good books gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the good books gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the good books gone?
Lars read them every one.
When will he ever learn?
When will he eeever learn?

Is it possible that I have read all the good books ever written and I’m left with the garbage?

There is also the remote chance that I’m suffering from EOD (Early Onset Dementia).

I enjoy history, both fiction and non-fiction. Favorite periods are Roman Imperial and the Middle Ages. If non-fiction I don’t like my reading material to be overly scholarly, but don’t dumb it down too much either. Assume I have a brain.

I’m also a big fan of science fiction. Favorite authors include Peter F Hamilton and Stephen Baxter.

I thought I enjoyed philosophy, but it tends to be way over my head (Wittgenstein, Kant, Kierkegaard (besides, most people seem to derive their knowledge of the “heavy” philosophers from secondary and even tertiary commentaries of their works and the opinions of their professors)) or just opinion (no finger pointing for now), or they blather on about stuff I already intuitively know or don’t care about. Still open for suggestions, though.

Power To The People – A Short Treatise On A Tattoo Proposal

Rather than going the traditional route of making a “long story short” (which never turns out to be the case anyway), I will attempt to answer a simple question, or rather, a series of simple questions, detailed and to the point, complete with examples, digressions and stream of consciousness ramblings as I see fit and necessary so as to ensure, to the best of my ability, that what I’m trying to convey comes across clearly. Or to obfuscate it completely.


As a man matures and grows older, he starts to ponder his place in the universe, what function, if any, he has in the greater scheme of things. As the process of coming to terms with the meaning of his life, his position in the cosmos, the restraints placed on him by circumstance and the environment, and whatever effect he can reciprocate on his surroundings etc., develops (I’m reasonably sure that this sentence is grammatically correct), he may find in his heart an urge to express his philosophy to the world, and so it became that I decided I wanted a tattoo.

Having obeyed the rules (mostly) for more than half a century, being a closet rebel, a natural born free thinker trapped in a world of Jante’s Law, and having come to the conclusion along the way that I don’t much like them, it didn’t take me long to come up with a general objective of what I wanted to express with my tattoo. From the rather generic idea that the rules suck and I didn’t want to take it anymore, I put my creative powers to work and reduced the general concept to the concise (or so I thought) phrase “Power To The People, Death To The Machine“, which neatly covered my feelings, and, if not precisely self-evident, I thought the wording would be pretty self-explanatory to the Common Man of average intelligence (I may have been wrong). So as any self-respecting, pseudo-intellectual, radical arm-chair subversive worth his salt, I immediately decided to translate my dictum (which I by the way make no claim to be the originator of (I generally subscribe to the notion that any thought worth thinking has already been thought by someone else and I have little of original value to contribute to the greater discourse of mankind), but I assure you that it is not deliberate plagiarism) to Latin. And this is where the real story begins. But more about that later.

First I want to say a few words about the design I have in mind. I imagine a Soviet-era, propaganda style clenched fist on my upper arm/shoulder with the slogan split in its two halves on separate banners top and bottom. I’m not a big fan of strong coloring and heavypower to the people, death to the machineshadows, so I’m leaning towards a distressed, faded look. I’m not much of an artistic type myself, so I’m sure the tattoo artist can give some helpful input. I have a specific guy in mind (he did my wife – twice!), but around here there are almost as many tattoo parlors as churches, and it’s probably a good idea to shop around to make sure the artist understands my vision, and, not unimportant, has the skill. References and portfolios need to be checked out, for sure. Disclaimer: this may never come to fruition (and whether or not I actually end up getting inked is irrelevant to this particular story) at all (I have a hard time committing myself to irreversible body art, ref. my earlier statement about a lifetime of following the rules), but I reckon it’s a reasonable bet that I only have approximately thirty-or-so years left of breath in me, the ten last of which may possibly be spent wearing old-man diapers drooling in front of a TV stuck on the shopping channel at some godforsaken home for the old and unwanted, waiting to die. So if not now, then when? My inner, unfulfilled rebel is getting aroused as I write these words.

So about the Latin translation. I don’t speak Latin. I can make myself understood in the English speaking world (though not fluently), the Scandinavian countries, except Iceland, insomuch as they qualify as a Scandinavian country; I have the scantest knowledge of German (less than conversational) and I know how to tell a guy he’s a cock sucking faggot in Spanish, that’s it. As you can see my linguistic circumstances are a bit foggy, and maybeLorem Ipsum DlolorRot Amet the subject for another post. I’m almost 100% certain that an online translator would get it wrong and should I choose that route I would run the risk of being permanently embarrassed every time I walked by the Latin departments of any of the Ivy League universities. Luckily I have a friend with a linguistic fetish who dabbles in Latin recreationally (I shit you not!) who helped me figure out a reasonable translation of several possible variations that I believe captures the essence of what I stand for (thanks, bro!). “Power To The People, Death To The Machine”, or as Lucretius would (or not) have said (depending on the validity of “machinae” used figuratively in classical Rome, which is still up for debate), “Potestas Vulgo, Mors Machinae“; it rolls off the tongue mellifluously, but still with gravitas, both in English and Latin. The perfect motto, beautifully raw and simplistic, yet plainly signifying both a moral principle as well as a call to action.

For my own edumecation as well as the elucidation of my reader(s?), I will now break down and analyze my proposed slogan in an exercise to make sure any reasonable reader will understand it close to the way it is intended and as I do:


Steppenwolf MonsterDeath To The Machine – First of all, what do I mean by “the machine“? Obviously not a typewriter (for those of you old enough to know what that is) or any mechanical apparatus. No, it is a figure of speech denoting an organization/institution, or organizations/institutions, that have grown beyond the intention of their makers, and reached a point of singularity, or near-singularity, where they take on a form of self-awareness and certainly don’t obey their masters, become uncontrollable, and instead of serving as a means to an end, becomes its own, self-justified end. The legendary rock group Steppenwolf called it the “Monster” in one of the best rock songs to come out of the 70’s, or any decade for that matter, by one of the most underestimated bands ever. (The Sex Pistols and Madonna are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, but not Steppenwolf. Really? REALLY?!?)

 

More often than not such Machines are to the detriment of its original creators and the people they were set in place to serve. Examples might include imperialistic and bellicose governments, such as the US government; organizations within the government such as Dept. of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA who, originally created to protect The United States Constitutionsociety from crime and enemies, foreign and domestic, now spy on society at large, collecting our communications in vast databases without our knowledge and for what nefarious purposes we can only imagine. It could be the military industrial complex that president Eisenhower (R) warned us against in the 50s, that requires, and lobbies for, wars to make a living. Same thing with the private incarceration industrial complex, that requires, and lobbies for, criminals to lock up to make a profit, resulting in America having the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, mostly due to non-violent drug users falling victim to the The War On Drugs and three-strikes-and-you’re-out (or in, as the case might be) legislation. It could be an increasingly militarized police force edging ever closer to an outright police state, police brutalityrunning roughshod over the Bill of Rights with impunity. It could be a President instructing his legal council to whitepaper him authority to torture suspected terrorists and assassinate American citizens with unmanned, flying killer robots without the due process guaranteed in the Constitution. It could be a commercial health care system preying on human misery and suffering, where keeping you sick, medicated and hospitalized is the best business model ever devised and the only losers are you and me. It could be an economic system that rewards excessive risk taking with other people’s money and downright fraud to the obvious detriment of investors. It could be too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-prosecute. It could be the revolving door connecting Congress and K-Street. It could be an election system where money matters more than votes and public office is effectively up for sale to the highest bidder. Obviously all the lobbying required to keep the wheels of The Machine oiled and running smoothly invites widespread bribery and corruption, making the will of the people less relevant than the amount of money paid for services rendered and expected. It could be politicians less interested in serving their constituents than protecting their jobs, i.e. getting reelected at any cost. It could be mayors exercising near-dictatorial powers, banning soda, outdoor smoking and deciding what kind of food you can eat (yes, I’m talking to you Bloomberg). It could be a nine-person politicized Supreme Court with lifetime appointees that can’t be fired (what could possibly go wrong?). It could be you, thrown over a barrel and buttfucked by a huge red, white and blue faux patriotic cock. I could go on and on, but hopefully by now you get the picture.

DeathDeath (to the machine) – What do I mean by “death” in this context? Obviously (I hope!) not that we should go out and physically kill all the collaborators that constitute the machine (many of us are unwitting participants). While they are biological entities, the individual matters little, since The Machine is more like a hive mind acting in unison, but not giving a second thought to why, perhaps not even aware that there is a why. By death I mean fixing the system, reigning it back to its original intent and a proportional size. Ideally this would be accomplished by the democratic provisions built into the original Machine (poorly devised as many of them were from the beginning and broken further since), but the keen observer will see that we are now dealing with a catch 22 situation. The Machine dictates the agenda as well as methods and ritual, while the populous that put it in place becomes ever more catatonic and ignorant, an instrument for The Machine, dazed and confused as they are by a steadily increasing diet of reality TV shows, Toddlers and Tiaras, Octomom and Honey Boo-Boo. I certainly am not about to incite violence and insurrection; my explicit recommendation is to fix, and if we’re beyond that point, replace, in a peaceful manner. I am not agitating for mutiny and overthrow of the government. That would be illegal, and I am nothing if not the reincarnation of Gandhi. We are encouraged to petition our elected leaders; President, Senators and Congressmen alike. Feel free to do so if you please, but have no illusions that contacting your rep will make an iota of difference (unless your petition is wrapped in a really big check). Your vote counts for nothing unless you live in a few select voting districts in a few select battleground states (due, of course, to a badly flawed Constitution). However, I am not optimistic about the future. If the current trend continues unabated, I do not see the United States surviving in its current configuration (a corporate oligarchy in the form of a two-party dictatorship in the guise of a democracy) one or two centuries from now. Make of it what you will. This article has already been flagged by the NSA. Remind me to get some sunblock for my upcoming trip to Guantanamo.

Power To The People can be split into (or so I’ve been told) three different questions:

  1. What is “the Power””
  2. What is “the People”?
  3. And why on Earth should the Power be given to them?
  1. Power is what the people for the most part don’t have. Power is what, ideally, should result from a government by the people, for the people and of the people. Power can be an illusion given to us in order to placate us by the corporate oligarchy, the two-party dictatorship, and every corrupt little politician more interested in lining his own pockets rather than doing the People’s work. Power is the ability to determine one’s own future without having to apply for permission. Real power, benign power, is to do unto others what you would like others to do unto you. If religion is opium for the people, than the illusion of power is benzos for the people. So far it looks like Big Brother is winning at this time.
  2. The People (as of the time of writing this) are the mindless, comatose chattel drugged and dazed by the aforementioned corporate overlords and their puppets, the government. The lowest voter participation in the civilized world bears testament to the fallacy that America is the greatest democracy in the world. The people are those who confuse happiness and greatness with Wal-Mart, Disney, a military greater and stronger than the next 15 nations combined, and all-you-can-eat buffets. The people are those who think freedom is the Second Amendment, all the while Big Bad Leroy Brown is molesting the nine other Amendments in the Bill Of Rights behind their backs. The People are in dire need of a wake-up call.
  3. The Power shouldn’t be “given to them” (the People). For one thing those currently in control of the Power won’t give it away without a fight. The power has to be taken back. Preferably by peaceful means if possible using the laws and courts. I’m not suggesting assassinating the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelsons of this world. But we do have dynasties in America that differ from the old European aristocracies in little but name. Think the Kennedys, the Romneys, the Bushes, industrial barons who throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries built their empires and vast fortunes on the backs of the destitute worker who bought into the idea of “The American Dream” that was fed to them by their Masters. Power that is “given” is nothing but a privilege on loan. Power must be taken.

Having said all this I have no illusions that things will get better, at least not in my lifetime, before they get worse. Much worse. I don’t rule out a second American Revolution or Civil War; a complete balkanization of the North-American continent. One could argue that a citizenry that dies with a smile on its face from obesity related diseases induced by pizza with cheese-filled crusts delivered conveniently to their doors, complete with a side of Cinna-Bons and a two-liter of Pepsi, and thinking they’ve made it in life, deserves no better. But that would be mean and snobbish.

I am reasonably certain that the People will lose in the fight for power/freedom (greed and the lust for personal power and enrichment always trumps idealism and a sense of fairness and justice), but I am nothing if not an idealist; it has been my curse since I developed a mind of my own at around the age of six.

Finally, I would like to point out that to the degree I am a philosopher (we all are, it does NOT require a college degree), I am more of a big picture kind of guy, leaving it to others to figure out the minutia. Don’t take everything I say too seriously, but on the other hand it ain’t meant to be a joke either.

Day Of Hungarian-Polish Friendship

Today is the official Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship. Since I’m 1/16 or so Hungarian (I can’t do the math and I don’t know my family tree well enough anyway, but 1/16th sounds reasonable), I’d like to give a shout-out to all my Polish friends.

Lengyel, magyar — két jó barát,
együtt harcol s issza borát.



Get the whole story on Wikipedia.

Husband Cat vs. Wife Cat

This is my (the Husband’s) cat, Gule (Norwegian for “yellow”), dutifully and intrepidly, without concern for his own safety, guarding our property against intruders. Is he a hero? That’s not for me to say. Is he the most handsomest cat in the tri-state area? Well, we do get emails from neighbors saying their female felines are quite smitten by him. He has been observed chasing large dogs and wolverines off the property.

Gule the very handsome cat.

Gule the very handsome and valiant cat of the husband.

This is my wife’s cat, Fuffu, a cowardly, mean-spirited fatass, lying on the floor waiting to be fed. I tried to get him to stand up and pose for the photograph, but he’s too lazy, and besides, his legs would probably break under his enormous weight. He has been known to run to his mommy crying because the mice taunt him. He’s also afraid of squirrels. All he does is eat and brown-nose.

Fat gray domestic short haired cat

My wife’s cat, Fuffu the fat coward.

Cogito Ergo LOL WUT?

Cogito Ergo Sum. I think, therefore I am. Or so the saying goes.

Upon being admitted to University in Norway, you must first, regardless of your chosen field of study, complete – and pass – a basic Philosophy 1-0-1 type course known as Examen Philosphicum (them academics likes their Latins). This in order to prepare the student for the basic principles of higher learning, scientific method, critical thinking and so on and so forth.

Those of you who know me may also know that I had my own run-in with Academia and that I lost, shamefully, leaving University after several changes to my major, degree-less and with precious little to my credit other than a student loan, the barest minimum of knowledge and understanding, hardly enough even to get me in trouble, but still sufficient to fool those of even lesser learning and/or wit to believe that I was more learned and/or witty than they were. In other words I knew very little about a lot and used it to be snooty and snarky to cover up my own insecurity whenever the opportunity presented itself. (I have since evolved to become a much nicer person.)

But I do remember the lecture on René Descartes and Cogito. That in order to find truth, you must first deconstruct everything until you arrive at that which cannot be doubted and build from there. And the most basic truth is “I Think, Therefore I Am”. Cogito Ergo Sum. Surely nothing can be more basic and true than the assertion that your thinking is proof positive that you exist.

At first this seemed perfectly reasonable and self-evident to me. But what if “I” myself was somebody’s creation programmed to believe (erroneously so) that I was thinking and therefore I was? This was before the breakthrough of personal computers and the Internets, and I have already admitted that I didn’t stick it out long enough to acquire a greater understanding of the subject. If I had, I might have gotten answers. I was also afraid to appear stupid, so I never asked my professors or discussed the matter with my fellow students. I just took the damn course and got on with what I thought was going to be the rest of my life.

Years pass. Moss grows on a rolling stone. Computers become as common as yeast infections in whores. I am vaguely aware of background chatter about artificial intelligences (AIs), Ray Kurzweil, the impending Singularity Event (when machine intelligence develops self-awareness and processing power skyrockets exponentially, potentially leaving flesh-humans behind in the dust), I watch and enjoy the three first Terminator movies, et cetera, et cetera, but can still not muster up enough energy or interest to go beyond passing awestruckness © (Is that a real word? If not I claim copyright.) and fascination with the subject. The possibility that I may not be an independent sentient/sapient being brings little worry to my life.

Current day. I download a short-story (novella, novelette?) from Amazon on my Kindle (search terms, search terms) by David Brin called “Stones Of Significance” and rediscover my fascination when I see that I’m not the only one who has pondered (however slightly) this existential question. Of course I’m not. I relatively firmly believe that every thought worth thinking has already been thought by someone else, someone smarter, and no matter what I think, I’m not adding anything of value to the pool of human knowledge. But I digress.

Disclaimer: I’m only through 19% of the story, but so far I gather it’s about digital simulations of people – even fictional people! – fighting for civil rights in a post-singularity Heaven where everybody is their own god. How totally awesome is that? I have said on occasion that I hope computer science advances fast enough and I live long enough to upload the contents of my mind to the Heavenly Server and live out eternity in virtual reality, digital bliss if you will, where your every whim and wish is possible at the speed of thought. I don’t know how realistic this is, but I quit smoking four years ago and try to live as healthy (or as little unhealthy) as I can. But my determination wavers, after all I am only human. Or am I? Maybe I am just someone’s really good simulation of “Me”, in which case it doesn’t really matter.

So here we are, waiting to die. Or to be saved by The Singularity. Or for someone to hit “Delete”. Just wanted to put it out there.