Sunday, October 31, 2010

On The Road




"I sometimes wonder if I could live more or less perpetually 'on the road,' given a plausible excuse. I'm leaning toward 'yes.'"

- Mac Tonnies, via PHB post 8/29/08


Mac Tonnies had a strange attraction to this particular Kerouacian theme: life "on the road". And when it wasn't dogging his waking state, he would have recurring dreams about trains and being on trains with uncertain destinations. He once mentioned to me that one of the things that drew him to obscure and "ascetic" symbols and/or handwriting were the chalk marks - hobo glyphs - that those "on the road" left for other travelers as references, suggestions and/or warnings.

Mac loved "Beat". It resonated with him, haunted his fiction, and peered out of his Posthuman Blues posts as well.

And this is how I like to remember Mac... on the road, wandering somewhere out there under the stars, or, in Kerouac's words:

"And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven."

- Jack Kerouac, excerpt from On the Road (1951)


***


Note: Post-Mac Blues is now going into sleep-mode.

Rest assured, if there is any Mac-related news, I shall dutifully post it here. If I should start another (unrelated) blog, or a more formal Mac-Tonnies-Central site should arise, I'll post links. But, for the most part, this blog is now predominately archival.

Interestingly enough, November marks the time of the Celtic New Year. And it kind of feels that way for me. So, Happy New Year to you... and thanks for accompanying me on this journey! My special thanks to all those who have contributed to PMB in any way, shape or form. May Amaterasu shine on you! Till next time...

Peace Out,
Dia


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Seasons Greetings!







"This flu's still not finished with me. I've spent the last two days confined to my apartment, drinking coffee, napping, alphabetizing my hate-mail, and having long philosophical conversations with my cats.

Halloween was without incident, although I considered zapping trick-or-treaters through my window with my laser-pointer; what's a few burned retinas in the name of fun?"

- Mac Tonnies via PHB post, 11/1/06



Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. Tone


This is the second version of Mr. Tone which replaces that which originally appeared here.


"Now, as we know," said Mister Tone,
This fish balloon seems blue;
And, in a way, you might say,
Like the Fish in the Moon!
But, when you see round things,
Don't you want to play catch?
No, I don't mean the fish;
I've got better things than that!"

Then, he opened his coat,
And his coat was full of stars,
And round things called planets
Named Neptune and Mars.
There was a ringed one named Saturn,
And tiny Mercury,
Which he flicked with his finger
And sent sailing straight to me!

- Dia Sobin, excerpt from One Day with Mr. Tone,
copyright 2010 (all rights reserved)

***

A little earlier this year, I was inspired to write some "read-aloud" verses for very young children about a magical character named "Mr. Tone" whom only children could see. The exact nature of Mr. Tone is never disclosed in the story. He simply appears in a park one day and entertains a toddler named Louise while she sits in her stroller, completely unnoticed by Louise's mom, who is sunning herself nearby.

Oh, and Mr. Tone also has several - equally as invisible to adults -animal companions.

Mac encouraged me to write for children... with hopes of collaborating with me one day. And, in a sense, he has, though not in a way which either of us could have foreseen. I'm not certain what the fate of Mr. Tone's story will be. The text is a done deal, but I've only finished the one cover illustration (sadly, a tad washed out in the .jpg above). This was inspired by a comment of my own regarding Mac's presence in Kauffman Garden, found here... Also, there was a later, related post, found here.

***

On the topic of book illustrations, and for another sort altogether, stop by Pink Tentacle and get a load of Tatsuya Morina's interpretations of some famous gothic horror tales, notably those of H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Posthuman Blues, Day #1






"Why create a web log? What's the point? Speaking only for myself: to write. I have stacks of notebooks to be typed into readable form, but they're languishing. I fully intend to buy a laptop with my advance, so hopefully my collection of wirebound journals will shrivel and die.

You there. Reading this. You don't have to, you know. William Gibson's blog is almost certainly more interesting than this (yes, he has a blog now, and a pretty good website). This isn't intended for an audience, per se. Then again, that seems to be part of the cyber-chic/geek-appeal of this whole "blogging" thing: that reader and author are merged in an illicit conceptual pact, eavesdropping on otherwise uninteresting bouts of creative (?) self-indulgence.

Why "Posthuman Blues"? Jack Kerouac's "Book of Blues" contains some essentially worthless poetry...but if he'd toted a palmtop instead of a ruled notepad, his output would likely find a small but fervent niche audience. His "Book of Blues" is rich blogging material, written as one would scribble postcards to one's own clone or multidimensional counterpart."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 1/26/03

***

Mac launched the Posthuman Blues blog on January 26, 2003. He really didn't start adding illustrations, photographs etc, till months later. The photo of "Electro" above was one of his earliest attempts at embellishment.

That being said, it isn't as if Mac had no internet presence before that date. Apart from his website, one locale in which you will frequently find his name is at Errol Bruce-Knapps's UFO Updates mailing list at Virtually Strange. He regularly - if sporadically - posted messages from about August, 1999, to June, 2005, along with numerous other "paranormal" celebrities. The List is active to this day, but if you want to find Mac's contributions, your best bet is to scroll down on the Updates page to "Monthly Indexes (Full listing)" and begin your crawl through the various months indicated above. Here's some links to random highlights that might interest you:


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Of Note



I've just rearranged the "Other Mac Tonnies Memorial Page/Post Links" section on the sidebar into alphabetical order, and added a few links. Amongst them is a memorial page from the mysterious Jez Velasquez (and/or Shiloh Jenz?) - aka Worm Intruder - and one that I had previously missed.

Do check out the very enigmatic site and memorial page... included is an unfinished song called "Barge", a traditional "Camp Fire" tune revitalized, recreated, and recorded by Velasquez and dedicated to her friends, Craig Ellis... and Mac Tonnies. It's quite lovely... have a listen now (mp3 format).

UPDATE (10/26/10): I've added a new podcast on the sidebar. On this one Mac argues his case for the Cryptoterretrials on Eerie Radio (circa 2007). You can listen to it here, but be prepared for a very long introduction by the hosts.


Dark Matter


"Today, Dr. Kaku addresses a question posed by David Hernandez: If subatomic particles can be in two or more places at once, could parts of us be travelling back and forth between parallel universes and could these particles be dark matter?"

***

An interesting video posted yesterday at Big Think featuring our man, Kaku, talking about dark matter. I've tried to embed it here but it ain't working.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Death Holds No Sting"


"The work of Rick Strassman with DMT, and of Albert Hofmann (the discoverer of LSD), as well as the recent findings with Ecstasy and psilocybin, suggest the need for a new model of how the brain works -- not simply as a generator of consciousness but as a receiver of consciousness."



- Graham Hancock, via this BoingBoing post 10/20/10

***

A must-read article over at BoingBoing by Graham Hancock. In case you're not aware of it, he a has great paranormal news-page found here.

UPDATE (10/21/10): Hancock has just posted another essay on BoingBoing on the same theme.



Monday, October 18, 2010

In the Air




"I'm up in the air about immortality. Maybe it will happen. Maybe humans will seize this "Singularity" thing by the reigns and conquer aging. Or maybe some of us will opt out of meat-based existence altogether, coexisting with long-lived carbon-based humanity in the form of mind-uploads. Of course, there's always the risk that I'll die before I can take advantage of such exotic future technologies.

So what I've decided to do -- more out of sense of fun than hubris -- is to leave behind a simulation of myself. It won't be sentient. It won't pass the Turing Test. But at least you'll be able to talk to it, and if I do my part well enough, it may even fool some casual users into thinking they're conversing with an authentic human being."
- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 11/8/05

(Photo: ? (accompanied post)

***

Actually, I hadn't planned for this post. But, when I saw to my dismay that my midnight post of last night clocked in, instead, at the time of my drafting of it, well, plans had to be modified. Just as well.

Thus far, around the web, I notice Kate Sherrod has posted a sonnet for this day. Any further activity will appear here as an update.

UPDATES: Rita J. King has posted a memorial at The Imagination Age. Richard Thomas has reposted his 2008 interview with Mac regarding Transhumanism over at UFO Mystic.

Below is Bjork's "All is Filled with Love", a video Mac uploaded to PHB July, 30, 2006, with the comment: "Wonderful! And easily the most romantic video I've ever seen."







Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Ka Door




"that crazy cat
the cheshire grin
then stardust"


I found these lines on a scrap of paper behind the computer the other day. I scribbled them probably a week after Mac had passed and then promptly forgot about them. But then, I didn't hear about Mac's death until almost a week had passed. For that matter, none of us realized it for days after the fact. At which point, it was bedlam in our allotted portion of what's referred to as the collective mind.

I found Mac's "tombstone" (above) on a Posthuman Blues post (2004), entitled "Hey. this is fun!". He had used a "Tombstone Generator" to create it. So, if you feel that it's in bad taste for me to post it here, well, it was really Mac's "taste". Don't shoot the messenger.

My last email to him - never answered - contained the line: "Please tell me it's a hoax, Mac!" And for months I still wasn't entirely convinced it wasn't all a "hoax". But, as I began to randomly read between the lines of his posts on Posthuman Blues - as if I were being preternaturally directed, I might add - the thought began to occur to me that he knew all along. Oh, not in the conscious way one "knows" things - at least not initially; but I think it began to dawn on him that his morbidness wasn't a character flaw, nor an artist's pose, nor a writer's quirky predisposition. Instead - and this is just my opinion - Mac knew, ultimately, that his time as "Mac Tonnies" was short, and that he'd be going through that metaphorical "Door" sooner than he, or anyone, might expect. He didn't tell anyone... certainly not me. He couldn't. He didn't have time to say "goodbye"; the train arrived one day and he got on it. But, all the while, the intimations were there, if we had known enough to look for them.

But, then, we never do.

About that "Door", well, none of us can define it for certain. My guess is that we are as bewildered going out as we are coming in. Quite possibly, in other words, we never really "get it". You come into this dimension and then you go out again. There may be return trips, and, then again, there may not. "You" may be fully aware on some level, and, then again, you may not. "You" may be no more than a drop of rain on a window pane. Or, "you" may be so much more that no encrypted code could contain you. Kind of like Pi, an endless ratio. Who's to say? There are those who try - they call it "religion" - but if you, like myself (and Mac, for that matter), are predominately agnostic, then the jury's still out. Perhaps, this is the most accurate definition of "agnostic", in that, we intuitively feel that "something's happening", but we're not arrogant enough to pretend we know what "it" is... or, perhaps, too prudent to "buy" into any prevailing trends. Mac never entirely "bought" into anything, and I feel that was one of his greatest strengths. In every statement he ever made about anything it always included a footnote: "I don't know... I'm not claiming to know... this is merely an idea."



That being said, I am reminded of the "Ka Doors", or "false doors" that the ancient Egyptians added to their tombs. These were not actual doors, in the usual sense, as they were solid, seamless and physically impenetrable. Instead, these doors had a different purpose - through them one communicated with the dead "on the other side". One left offerings. In ways, you might say, the Western tradition of erecting monuments to the dead - i.e., tombstones - is analogous to the Ka Doors. But, did the Egyptians really "get it' more than we do? I suspect not... and, yet, they were more honest in their pursuit of an understanding of death... and they damned-well made sure they covered all the bases.

In closing, I merely implore you to leave your offerings, your memes, your names - whatever you choose - at any of the Ka doors available to you on this anniversary of Mac's passing. None physically exist - not even in Missouri - but there are a few places in cyberspace: here, for instance... or at Macbots... or you might revisit that place where this cyber-tale unfolded - that is, the comment sections on Page 1 & Page 2 of the last PHB posting.

Or, don't. Just cast a thought, and imagine our friend will receive it. Memories, singly or collectively, may act as the stepping stones in the various dimensions of incorporeal immortality we might eventually encounter. We pause, we spin, we reflect, we muse, we wonder... and then, we move on.

My very best and warmest feelings go out to each of you at this time... but, most especially to Mac.





"More Than the Sum of Our Parts"





"I struggle ceaselessly with the aspect of myself that clings to the fragile comfort of words and sentences. Our familiar Western mode of thinking -- purged of intuition and leery of experiences not reproducible in written form -- is like a clear membrane stretched taut around our senses, but no less insidious in its seeming transparency.

Lately, especially, it seems as if my real life unfolds in the narcotic oblivion of sleep; my dream-world, for all of its ominous vistas and intimations of cataclysm, exerts an inexplicably nostalgic allure. For whatever reason, I feel oddly welcome strolling the ruined hotels and depopulated suburbs that have come to dominate my sleep. There appears to be coherent, if tenuous, logic to this silent and jaundiced realm -- arguably more so than what greets me while awake and rational.

I've come to tentatively identify with the role of the shaman. Upon waking, my mind feels ponderous with ideas seeking escape; a portal has been opened, but a portal to where, exactly? And what, if anything, should I do with this freight of unsolicited weirdness?

My dream-world grows less diffuse -- more palpable -- with every visit, recalling the idea that powerfully envisioned thought-forms can assume fleeting physical existence. If such an alchemical process is indeed at work, the repercussions for my "real" existence are troubling. Maybe the only way to break the feedback cycle -- to decisively sever the ouroboros that my psyche's inexorably becoming -- is to opt out of the wide-awake domain of language, syntax and the necessarily diminishing fiction of 'either/or'."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 2/27/09

(Photo: Mac Tonnies, 2000)


***

As you'll note, Mac wrote this post - "More Than The Sum of Our Parts" - in February of last year. I believe it reflected intimations of the journey he would be inevitably be taking in October... a journey that he unconsciously anticipated, and one that he would, in time, embrace. I will explore this concept in my next (midnight) post, which will be my last post until the last week of the month, at which point I will finally, formally bring Post-Mac Blues full-circle and set it free.

Meanwhile, there should be some cyber-activity over the the next few days relating to Mac, and I will try and keep track of it.

UPDATE: I notice that Paul Kimball has posted Remembering Mac, announcing a Radio Misterioso show - a tribute to Mac - featuring he and Greg Bishop. It takes place at 11 PM (EST) tonight, and I think we all want to be there.

I'm going to post the video that accompanied Mac's post. When I first viewed it, I thought it was an unusual, uncharacteristic choice for Posthuman Blues, but, all things considered, perhaps not. Video below.


***






(On a - more or less - unrelated note, Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of the fractal, has died.)



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flowing





"Time needn't be relevant in the cosmic screening room. Whether a particular pattern emerged in the past or future is irrelevant. Information from the "past" and "future" (mere cognitive constructs) freely integrate. This is a realm without spatial or temporal boundaries. It's something like the "implicate order" suggested by physicist David Bohm. The "explicate order," of course, is the intricate sensory illusion that we inhabit. Or think we do.

The ever-changing patterns in the protean cloud dictate the nature of whatever universe happens to be illuminated by our imaginary laser. Since our perceived reality is constantly modeled by the myriad ones and zeroes in the timeless cloud, we find ourselves diced into informational slivers. From this perspective, "continuity" is meaningless. The "I" writing this sentence could be hundreds of billions of "I"s removed from the one that wrote the last sentence. More disturbingly, "I" might not have existed at all until right . . . now.

The newly formed "I" happens to have "memories" of composing this essay, but memories, like everything else, are simply advantageous fluctuations in the filmic cloud, subject to constant revision. And since I'm ostensibly a component in day-to-day reality, it's inevitable that the randomly constructed parameters that define my world -- all of it, from my living room to the coffeeshop down the street to the structure of galaxies -- is every bit as flimsy and malleable. Reincarnation is quite real. It's happening all the time -- invisibly.

Several months ago I was in an automobile crash. My memories contain the adrenalized moment of impact, the literally breathless aftermath as I pondered the crushed metal and broken glass, and a trip to a hospital inside an ambulance. It would appear I survived, albeit bruised and aching. But who am I to tell the story of what "really" happened? Perhaps the arc of my life, as defined by the fluctuating patterns (and bits of would-be pattern) in the cosmic screening room bifurcated shortly before I collided with the other car. In one variation I came to a bloody end. In yet another there was never an accident at all.

I pick the crash incident not because of any intrinsic importance -- at the most fundamental level, the blind dance of possibilities doesn't care if I live or die -- but because it illustrates how flawlessly one or two frames can be altered (or randomly inserted or deleted) to potentially catastrophic effect in the observable world. So long as a pattern remains intact -- and it will, since it has infinite space and time to organize itself -- so will some permutation of "I."

Which begs the question: What happens when someone dies? It's possible that informational death is impossible and that the person who "dies" in the "explicate order" is expediently recycled, living his or her life again and again in a state of total amnesia. Or maybe something like my crash incident applies and that observers who die -- in the directly perceivable world -- are shuffled into a future in which they "miraculously" survive their own crashes (or cancer treatments or heart transplants).

There's nothing concrete or absolute about our so-called universe. It is an alluring, insidiously clever simulation. The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics implies that the universe is constant "branching" into parallel, exclusive states. A better term, in light of the scenario described above, might be 'flowing'."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 11/8/03

(Photo: Mac Tonnies, 2008)



Friday, October 15, 2010

"God's Black Space"





"One really cool thing about having a presence on the Web: I tend to get neat things in the mail. Today I got free copies of Zakas' long-awaited new album, "Illegitimus Non Carborundum"; I supplied background "lyrics" for the song "God's Black Space," about cosmic coverups and ruins on Mars."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 9/26/03

(Cover Art: R.S. Connett)


***

Zakas should be a familiar name to readers of Posthuman Blues. In 2003 he and Mac collaborated on a Mars-related musical venture entitled "God's Black Space" for which Mac wrote the background narrative. Mac also reviewed the album, Illegitimus Non Carborundum, upon which it appeared and his review can be found - along with some mention of his book, "After the Martian Apocalypse" - on this page. The lyrics of "God's Black Space" can be found here. And, lest I forget, there is also "The Alien Surgeon's" special Macbot page.

Below is the video of "God's Black Space"! Enjoy!






Thursday, October 14, 2010

Average Joe?






"Looks like I might have a cameo on the NBC "reality" show "Average Joe." I was reading in the coffeeshop and in walks the show's star with a quick-talking girlfriend (manager?) and a cameraman. I was the only customer at the time. The camera dude swung his machine at me and the friend asked me if I recognized the star, a blonde named Melana. I gave her a thoughtful stare and admitted ignorance.

(I didn't even know there was a show called "Average Joe." I just now Googled it to know what, exactly, I'm dealing with.)

While the group was getting ready to leave, I apologized to Melana: "Don't feel embarrassed that I don't know you. I don't watch TV."

She patted my arm and laughed it off."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 11/25/03

(Photo: Mac Tonnies, 2000)


***

Judging by Mac's "I don't watch TV" comment, my guess is that this footage wound up on the cutting room floor. I never even heard of "Average Joe", but judging by the bulk of this variety of TV "reality" trash, I think we can all concede that this is more than just as well!



Video Projection Mapping





What you're seeing is an example of "video projection mapping" - that is, videographic images projected upon a 3-dimensional object - in this case, an actual building - to produce some amazing multi-dimensional effects. This one was created by Apparati Effimeri. (Their Vimeo page can be found here.)

Boingboing recently featured a video projection mapping project from Prague, "600 Years" - by The Macula group. (Their Vimeo page can be found here) You are seriously missing something if you haven't watched it!

For more info and examples, try the Video Mapping Blog.

(Hat-Tip to Boingboing's Xeni Jardin.)



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Macbot Singularity"


____________________________________

(Forth Media) - An all-digital portrait entitled
"MacBot Singularity" will have its first public
viewing this weekend, November 22 & 23, 2003 at
Santana Row in San Jose, California. The artist
is participating in an outdoor arts & entertainment
program, where, in addition to seeing a sample of
this limited edition print, Silicon Valley
residents can purchase one of The Electric Warrior's
"wearable artwork" T-Shirts.





"eWarrior's digitally manipulated portrait, "MacBot Singularity," has gone to hardcopy. This mildly freaky Warholian posthuman visage is actually tacked to someone's wall. I'm quite pleased. As eWarrior writes in his blog, there's something uniquely satisfying about midwifing a digital work into the analogue "meatspace" world. Analogue is inherently messier that digital, but singularly rewarding. (Would you rather read an "e-book" on your palmtop than crack the cover of a paperback? Neither would I.)"

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 10/3/03


"What do John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna and Mac Tonnies have in common?
We can all be found adorning the walls of a certain Starbucks (!) in California. Artist eWarrior informs me my portrait is located next to the entrance;
if that's not appropriate, I don't know what is."

- Mac Tonnies, PHB post 3/10/08


***

You may recognize Electric Warrior's portrait of Mac as that which graces the back cover of "After the Martian Apocalypse". Another one of eWarrior's Mac-graphics can be found here.

As an added footnote, when Mac was in San Francisco filming for "The Supernatural Investigator"* in 2008, he was presented with a canvas of Macbot Singularity by the artist, which now resides with Robert and Dana Tonnies. (Thanks, Dana)

*More about the Canadian paranormal program is discussed by Mac on PHB posts found here and here. I don't believe the shows were ever re-released for American consumption or even on DVD... however, Mac features a short clip here.