Brave new world of the internet

What is going to be the future of connectivity? What is the Brave New World of the Internet going to be?

Is it going to be a system of services linked together through one centralized (but benevolent) agency? Need a service? Want to sell a service? Check into the Agency, the Agency will take care of you. Oh, by the way, you need to add this to your machine. And you need to give us this information.

And you need to understand that we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, any way, do you?

Or is it going to be a brave new world of content publishing and subscription?

You sitting at home passively on your machine hooked up as a dying man is hooked up to a heart machine, each beat a pulse from the great wire, delivering you all the information fit to print, at least fit enough to survive the filters.

You sit and add your own beat, with perhaps an accompaniment of a pat on the head, job well done. Why seek? Why search?

Now, just put that finger on that mouse and click those check boxes and yes, we’ll take care of you because we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, any way, do you?

Put your mouth to the nipple and prepare to be fed.

A brave new world.

Connecting to the void you send tendrils out seeking others of like mind, or not, occasionally bumping into something new or unexpected in your search.

Two paths open for every path that closes, and the only locked door you find is standing alone with no walls around it. You laugh into the void as you walk past the door, continuing on your journey of discovery.

Just Shelley

My first and only hydroplane race

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

At the Ford Service Center waiting on my 5000 mile service and thought I would write a story into my nifty energy efficient wireless weblogging tool, and download to the web later.

Chris asked for stories of pain. He is one sick puppy…probably why I like him so much. Well, I never deny my favorite chicken, so…

In my late teens I was going out with a guy who was heavily into hydroplane racing — stock outboard racing to be exact. Brian raced A stock, one of the smaller types with a maximum speed of 50-55 MPH.

I became a fairly decent and respected crew member, with Brian as well as other racers, to the point where they would allow me to take their boats for a ride after the races. There’s few experiences you can have in life to equal being on your knees at water level in a boat made of 1/4 inch plywood, racing over the water at 50+ milers per hour.

To set the stage for the rest of this story, I need to tell you that at that time there was a real sex bias in boat racing circles. Men raced, women supported. I was unusual in that I would help carry the boats and worked on the mechanics, including being able to set up a boat quickly and efficiently.

Once a year, at the biggest of the local (Seattle) races, the guys would let the ladies have a turn in a ladies-only racing competition — the annaul Powder Puff Race.

Now that you all have had your laugh for the day, I’ll continue with my story.

Brian’s hydroplane was a sharp turning little beastie, but didn’t have the power that some of the other boats had. For the race, he trained me to stay tight in the turns and to hit the mark (the clock) at the start line.

The day of the raced dawned. This type of hydroplane race is run in two parts, and the best overall score is declared the winner. A field of 11 boats took to the water for the first round, slowly circling, moving into start position. I circled the “field”, keeping my eye on the clock and determined to end up at the start line just as the clock hit zero, and also determined to own the inside lane.

The one minute gun sounds. I’m moving closer….closer…closer…mark!

I owned the inside and was fairly sure I hadn’t “jumped the gun” (crossed the start before the clock was finished). However, right beside me was the hottest boat of the show, driven by the woman who had won two years running. The Nemesis.

We stayed side by side all throughout the race, me able to keep up because I kept tight to the turns, her always ahead because she had the more powerful boat.

Round the field we went until I saw the green flag for the last lap (you actually don’t remember what lap you’re one when you’re racing). I poured on the power, I cut the corners, I leaned forward and down into the wind. Regardless of my last efforts, the Nemesis crossed the line ahead of me.


I headed into shore to get re-fueled and was surprised to be met by a large group of people jumping up and down screaming at the top of their lungs. I had won!

It seems that I did hit the mark exactly — Nemesis had jumped the gun and was disqualified that round. Big huge smile. Too bad. So sorry. Big huge smile.

Next round. Again I circled the field, lining up … wind is picking up … circling closer … more chop in the water … closer…

Time does slow down. As I headed into my final approach, one of the other racers, Janet, lost control of her boat trying to fight the increasingly rough water. She wasn’t aware that I was on her inside, and yanked her boat to the left, right at me.

There are no brakes in a hydro. There’s no horn, either. And you can’t yank a boat around or you’ll flip it. Taking your hand off the gas will drown your boat with backwash. All I could do was gun the motor and hope to speed past her. But it was too late.

Janet hit me in the right side just as my boat dipped to the right, forcing the front of her hydro over the top of my sponson, crashing through the side of my cockpit and directly into me. Luckily, the hit on the cockpit slowed the boat, and she only hit me at about 40 MPH, we estimated later.

The force of the blow knocked me over into the other side of the cockpit and pushed Janet’s boat over, dumping her in the water.

I passed out, and when I came to I was lying across the front of the boat, which was, remarkably, still afloat — my falling forward kept it from being swamped by the backwash.

I turned towards the beach and saw Janet in the water, signaling that she was okay. Good. Good. I couldn’t move and just lay there looking at Janet and the people on the beach, not quite sure where I was or why I was laying across the front of the boat.

During this time, the emergency crew who originally thought I was leaning forward to check on boat damage finally realized that I wasn’t moving or signaling that I was okay and sped towards me. As soon as they realized that I must have received a direct hit from the other boat, they sank my boat in order to use water rescue techniques to minimize further damage to me.

After carefully loading me into a stretcher, they sped me to shore where a double line of racers was waiting to keep the crowds back and a clear path to the ambulance.

I don’t remember a whole lot of much of anything until I got to the hospital. I didn’t even hurt that much, though this was to change — drastically — over the next four months of treatment.

Janet’s boat caught me in my right thigh, literally liquifying the muscle, and shredding it into two pieces. Because of my kneeling stance, my bones were cushioned from much of the shock and weren’t broken. I did have cracked ribs from the hit to the cockpit side when I was thrown. Still, all in all, pretty damn lucky.

The result of the second round? Six of the original eleven boats were totalled, and the round was cancelled. Since I won the first round, I won the race. It was the last Power Puff competition held, as by this time, more women were getting into racing.

Today I have a huge dent — literally a dent — in my right thigh as a remembrance of my first, and last, hydroplane race.


The Writing Mystic

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

There’s some form of mystic associated with writing professionally that, in some ways, I don’t understand.

It doesn’t exist with, say, web development — there are scores of web page designers and developers who would be appalled at having to do what they do as a hobby, as a job, day in and day out. In addition, there are those who garden, cook, drive, sew, and care for children who wouldn’t even consider doing the same for a buck.

But writing, well, writing professionally somehow imbues the written word with a higher degree of importance than the word that’s given freely. Even if the written word is included in the biggest jumble of disorganized crap that ever existed on any planet in the universe, and the freely given word is the epitomy of elegance, grace, and clarity.

Perhaps the reason for this mystic is that if one is paid for the word, one is somehow supposed to be more proficient with the use of the word. I write this word — apple — and I am not paid for it. Therefore, the value of –apple — is worth less then the word — Apple — as long as it is followed by OS X and I’ve convinced some editor somewhere that it is worthy of inclusion within their magazine, eZine, book, or other form of publication.

It is true that when one is paid for an act, one improves over time. Based on this we can conclude that when we pay for an action, we should be able to expect more from that action.

This works for sex — why not writing?

The act of writing professionally. The publication process.

As an example of the publication process, take a look at the following sentence:

My recommendation would be that you flibit the gidbet and then flummer the dummer.

One publication prefers that writers not use the familiar, so can the professional writer remove all familiar references?

Okay, how’s this:

It is accepted practice to flibit the gidget and then flummer the dummer.

Another publication prefers the familiar form, and also prefers witty repartee with the reader. Can the professional writer please adjust accordingly?

Okay, how’s this:

My recommendation would be that you flibit the gidbet and then flummer the dummer, and you’ll be kicking ass at that point.

A third publication hastens to add that words such as “ass” might be offensive to some readers. Please edit this remark.

Okay. Is the following acceptable:

My recommendation would be that you flibit the gidbet and then flummer the dummer, and you’ll be much happier with the results.

There’s another publication. This one likes to have notes, sidebars, and annotations.

Okay. Then how the hell is this:

My recommendation (being aware that I have enormous experience with this) would be that you flibit the gidbet (see for more info) and then flummer the dummer, (see sidebar A1), and you’ll be happier with the results (happier: increased sense of well being).

Are these examples of writing somehow worth more than the unpaid version of the same, such as one could find at a weblog?

Weblog version:

To hell with the gidbet, who cares about the flummer, go get a beer, and screw it all until tomorrow.

I think not.

(Legal Disclaimer: The publications referred to in this document are entirely fictional. Any similarity to an existing publication is purely coincidental.)

Diversity Weblogging


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Steve at OnePotMeal provides his interpretation of a men’s blog in response to a challenge for same from the Blog Sisters weblog. Cracked me up, big time.

I’ve been following the initial efforts of Blog Sisters with a great deal of interest. A couple of times I even thought about throwing a posting or two into the stew; however, I refrained because me thinks the stew has too many spices, already.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Individually, the members of this new weblog are fascinating, well written, interesting, gusty, bold, and incredible women. However, I am finding that taken together, the sound is becoming overwhelming.

Question: Can a group weblog whose only limitation to membership is sexual classification survive without imploding under the weight of all the voices? The topics range in a dizzying spiral of sex and melted wax and vibrators and motherhood and death and RageBoy and Daypop — all in the course of an hour.

What happens over time as the membership continues to grow, the members become more comfortable, and, one can assume, consequently more verbose? Will finally meet its match?

I will continue to watch the metamorphisis of Blog Sisters in fascination, not sure if it’s because I’m seeing the evolution of a new way of communicating on the web, or because I’m about to witness weblogging’s first 100 car pile up.

Regardless, what a bold bold move.