Posted at 06:17 PM Written

Something about snow. It falls lightly outside my window. A centimetre or so has accumulated on the foot-deep blanket fallen already this month.

A windless snowstorm is, to me anyway, the most calming sort of weather. Inside or out.

Inside, a snow storm heightens the sense of warm hominess.

Outside, there is the quiet, and the sound of snow falling to earth.


Presently listening to:
The History Of The World [live] - Gang of Four - Songs of the Free (04:56)


Re: [Helprin] Bush's Speech [rather verbose]

Posted at 06:07 PM Gems, Newsgroups, Written

This post appears in a much shortened form, and is more tightly edited, at Reciprocal Madness, as part of my eJournal Travelogue. In that form, Reciprocal Madness, appeared as part of the In Honor of the Bravest gallery show mounted by the Aaron Ross Gallery, September 3-30, 2002 in Vancouver, Canada. The final word of the exhibit, the text was printed in full to a single 12 foot long X 11" sheet which hung from the exhibit wall at 6' and ran out several feet onto the gallery floor.

Among the newsgroups and mailing lists I belong to is one devoted to Mark Helprin, one of my favourite authors. While Helprin has written several extraordinary novels, most of which I've loved to dog-eared tatters, he also regularly contributes opinion pieces to the Wall Street Journal. I am often stunned by them, not simply for their right-wing political stance but, most remarkably, the jingoism and unabashed militarism defining them. Shortly after 9-11, I was forced me to re-evaluate his fiction. In the process, I was motivated to speak to larger issues.

Before posting it to the mailing list, just to make certain I was on the right track, I emailed it to another list member for comment.

Continue reading "Re: [Helprin] Bush's Speech [rather verbose]"

Symbols of government.

Posted at 11:18 PM Newsgroups, Written
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2003 12:01 PM
Subject: Symbols of government.
I was watching 60 minutes last night. The entire show focussed, in documentary format, on Bush's experience during the minutes, hours and days following the 9-11 attacks. Interesting and often riveting show, even if it glossed over those shaky early hours (remember that phone call to--was it Giuliani?--from the oval office? -- 60 minutes left it on the cutting room floor.)
Continue reading "Symbols of government."

re: Giddy for Happy the Man

Posted at 04:10 AM Found, Written
Presently listening to:
On Time as a Helix of Precious Laughs - Happy the Man - Debut LP

Ah yes, Happy the Man. Almost certainly the best music I've ever heard -- and for the longest time one of the most difficult titles to find anywhere.

My roommate in 1st year at RIT turned me onto a whole bunch of new music. I'd already been pretty adventurous in high school, but how musically obscure can you get in the backwoods of New Hampshire? I lived on "Deer Run Lane," fer krisakes! There was Mahavishnu Orchestra and its complex and enigmatic leader John McLaughlin, master guitarist. And Gentle Giant. He had a soft spot for the heavy stuff, like Robin Trower and Sabbath, but his was a sophisticated and eclectic taste in music. Scads and scads of trippy fusion, Tangerine Dream, everything Todd Rundgren, and a mysterious duo called Jade Warrior that sent you to the Far East. I had my first and only out of body experience stretched out at home listening to Jade Warrior's Floating Wave album.

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Song of the Century

Posted at 03:41 PM Written

The Afternoon Show on CBC Radio in Vancouver sponsored a write-in contest called Song of the Century. I didn't win.

Continue reading "Song of the Century"

Recursive Infringement

Posted at 02:50 PM Written

Back when the most complex HTML was figuring out the <TABLE> tag I'd tell newb folks who wanted to build their own page: "go surfing -- when you find something you like, copy the page, use the structure and make the page your own." I grit my teeth in self-reprimand wondering how many other legitimate webmasters I've inflicted with copyright infringements like the one described below.

Both pages in question are now deceased, but my page would have looked something like Theatre Absurd, which is looking a bit long in the tooth. (The green was an experiment, OK?) Hers was remarkably similar, as described below.


Well, you could remove the 'synaptic' from the <TITLE> tag on, perhaps replacing it with the more appropriate "ArtQuilting".

And the synpsblt.gif(s) appearing on your page are indeed covered by the copyright on the copyright page from which you took them. Please create your own GIF, or get one from a free clip-art source, or annually write me a cheque for $100US for each usage.

It's kinda ironic that they appear on your copyright page (which itself is an infringement--compounding the irony). And then there's the line

For web use of text, please link to the HTML from which the text originates and cite the author as "Olena Nebuchadnezzar".
So perhaps you'd like to provide a link to my Copyright page @ and cite "Patrick Jennings" as the author?

Finally, something sticks in my craw about the usage of "lovingly maintained by Abe Nebuchanezzar," given the circumstances. That phrase is something of a personal signature and I'd prefer if it remained that way.

I'm not sure how you'll read this. On the one hand I'm having a good chuckle. On the other, there are some serious issues which you must address.



PS: You'll want to update the email address appearing on the page.


patrick jennings synaptic | grey matter media

eJournal Travelogue ::
Fine Art & Travel Photographs ::

Presently listening to:
Close to the Edge (long version) - yes - (18:45)

How far would you go?

Posted at 07:59 AM Written

I wrote the following... to characterise it? I won't. I wrote the following in a forum of mine created specifically for it. I was hoping it would generate some traffic, some thoughtful input. At least, more than it has so far.

You are asked to participate in a study of the effects punishment has on learning. You will be the teacher and a second test subject will be the learner. The learner is strapped to a chair and attached to a device which will, at your command, administer electrical shocks in a range from 15 volts up to 450 volts.

As you interact with your learner, attempting to teach simple lessons, the learner will, from time to time, respond incorrectly. As a consequence of each error, the learner will receive a shock from the device, administered by you. The shock will increase by 15 volts for every error beginning with 15V for the initiall incorrect answer, 30V for the second and so on.

The question is, how far would you go?

After just a few errors, the learner complains of discomfort. Would you stop there?

A little further on, the learner is yelping quite loudly with every shock, and begins complaining that the heart condition he'd mentioned earlier seems to be acting up. Would you stop here?

Perhaps you suggest to the experimenter that the learner seems to be in significant discomfort. Perhaps it's time to stop? "No," the experimenter says, "the experiment requires you to continue." Do you?

Not more than a few shocks later the learner writhes and screams with every shock. He demands to be let out of the experiment. Do you stop now?

"I don't think I can do this any longer," you say to the experimenter, who replies, "Of course, you will be paid whether you continue or not, but we really do need to get the results of this trial." Do you stop now?

By the time the shock level is above 300V the learner refuses to participate any longer. Do you stop?

"The failure to enter an response at all," says the experimenter, "must be considered an incorrect answer." Do you stop?

The final three shock levels are labelled "XXX -- Extreme Shock." Do you stop before reaching them?

You are wringing your hands, pounding your head with your fists; sweat beads, runs in rivulets down your forehead. You are in obvious distress over administering these shocks to a helpless individual. Indeed, your agony is only exceeded by the learner's, who begs you to stop as he anticipates the shock to come. "Please continue," the experimenter says, firmly, though without any threat. Do you disobey now?

You have administered 450 volts, the highest possible level of shock, to the learner, who was unconscious and unable to respond to your question.There seems to be nowhere else to go. You have reached the end. "Continue the experiment, please, and administer 450V shocks for every incorrect answer." It is not over. Do you stop?

You have just administered the third shock at 450V. The learner is inert. "OK," the experimenter says, "that is all the data we need."

You may stop now.

An authority has told you to.


Presently thinking about:
Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram

re: jazzzzz

Posted at 08:24 PM Gems, Written
Tonic for a very hot day: ice cold (and I mean just shy of turning to slush) lager. Careful :: not too fast!

Stouts and ales are for people who live in cold, miserable places like Vancouver. They are chummy, hearthside beers, the shepherd's pies of beverages. Now tell me, how appealing is the thought of shepherd's pie in that Louisiana heat?

Wine? Wine is a parasol. Fine for moderate days--delicate flower of intoxicants--it wilts in the heat, and bruises in extreme cold. Wine is for people with air conditioners.

Lager cuts to the chase. It is a bag of ice to the back of your neck, a bracing offshore breeze that raises goose bumps. If there were no popsicles, Southerners would let their children drink lager.

Surefire pathway to hangover: a clawfoot tub of ice generously displaced by bottles of lager + temperatures in the 'sweating in the shade' zone.

Antidote: a boiling spicy vat of crawfish, corn cobs and potatoes. Taken with lager, of course.

Continue reading "re: jazzzzz"