Considering the Future

I've had some interesting synchronicities about "The Future" lately.

First, my Beloved and I were doing some vocal toning together with a friend the other day -- free-forming it -- and inadvertently, we chanted "Bum.....Bum.... Bum. Bah-bummmmm," exactly like the rendition of Sprach Zarathustra from the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Which got me to thinking about that movie.

Then, the wild-ass phenom in the sky yesterday, and when I went to edit the video, that line from 2010 ("Something wonderful") kept popping into my head, so I included it (just in case you were wondering).

So, of course, last night we had to rent 2010:The Year We Make Contact and watch it.

And then this morning, Melissa McEwan at Shakesville had posted her daily "Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime", which was a bit from a British Sci-Fi show called UFO (circa 1970, supposedly set in the 80s -- a 1980s where we have already colonized the moon).

What struck me as I wandered through these visions of What Will Be was how wrong we'd been about "The Future" in some regards, and how right we'd been about it in other regards.

Example: In 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Dr. Chandra has created not one, but TWO series of amazing computers that seem to be able to "feel" and "think" (which we have NOT been able to do) -- and yet . . . . . and yet . . . .

Please note the GINORMOUS CRT monitor on Dr. Chandra's desk, with what is obviously the "futurized" version of a slot for a 5.5 inch floppy disk in the front (remember those pieces of crap?), and with this amazing, super-intelligent computer there, he stands up to type out the name of the file on a keyboard, and it appears in crappy, DOS-like letters on SAL's screen.

Also -- were we not supposed to have our bubble-headed stewardesses on our chartered flights to the moon seven fucking years ago???? In 2001????!!!!!

I mean, what's up with that?

It was bitter-sweet to watch 2010/TYWMC (made in 1984), where the USSR was still our arch-enemy, and no one could have imagined that five years later, the Berlin wall would come tumbling down. Emotional tension in the film is heightened by the fear of WWIII, which is imminent because of a stand-off between the USA and the USSR in Central America. Different characters these days -- but same old story.

The hero in 2010 is going to save the day with the cheesiest little Radio-Shack-looking pocket calculator -- but aero-braking around Jupiter and artificial gravity are a snap.

There are video-telephones, but no LCD or plasma flat-screens.

There is suspended animation for long space-flights, but they're still using paper print-outs on the desks (which no one puts away for the aero-braking . . . duh!).

People have dolphins swimming around in their living rooms, but wifey/professor-mom is still doing the dishes in the sink.

There are adverts for moon-jaunts on the TV, but the TV is still 15" across and the newscaster is as stilted and boring as ever.

And hey -- about those video-phones. You know, they've been promising me a video-phone since the early sixties! Where's my video-phone?

Oh . . . . and another thing ----- WHERE'S MY FUCKING JET-PACK!!!!?!?!!?!

baby-boomers were supposed to have been issued an individual jet-pack by 1975. (I'm, like, 99% certain that that was in the brochure.)

When I think about the fact that 2010 is a year and a half away, and consider the notions that our prognosticators had in 1968 and 1984 about what things would be like by now (actually, Arthur Clarke wrote the short story that 2001 was based on in 1950), I sometimes think that the Dreamers were a bit ambitious.

But then I remember that 20 years ago (1988), there actually was NOT a computer in nearly every home in America (or two or three, as in my home). The 56k modem is not even 15 years old. If Dr. Heywood Floyd were living today, his secret "destroy HAL" detonator would not have been a pocket calculator, because he would have had a calculator in his Blackberry. And he would have been too busy live-blogging the trip to Jupiter to go chasing after Dave Bowman's ghost. ("Later, dude! Someone is wrong on the internet!")

So it is possible to make incredible, nearly unbelievable, technological strides forward in a very short time. If the USA hadn't distracted itself with wars, wars, and more wars, and had remained focused on space exploration, who knows where we'd be by now?

But the USA didn't do that.

When I was six, every boy in my class (and at least half the girls) wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. We were charged and excited by the notion of walking on the moon, and visiting the stars. "All Things Spacey!" -- that was our future.

However, we made a different future.

Proving that history can pretty much turn on a dime, if it wants to.

Which means that we could also turn just as abruptly from visions of dire outcomes and inevitable decay to expansive solutions and flourishing growth.

I wonder what we'll do next?

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:05 AM 7 comments Links to this post  

How to Get Completely Side-Tracked

Yesterday, there was an amazing thing that happened in my town, and it became a perfect excuse for me to fiddle about with my camera and editing program (instead of *ahem*working*ahem*).

Anyway -- I think you'll agree that it was worth taking a moment or two to have my breath taken:

Updated: If you'd like a still for your screen-saver or desktop, there's a full-size photo here:Circumhorizontal Arc

Posted byPortlyDyke at 9:22 AM 6 comments Links to this post  

Oh, Man!

I'm going to blame my friends for this (again) -- I was catching up on blogs tonight (because I'm too fucking tired to do anything else right at this moment), and stumbled on the Monty Python Character Test. Swear to Ceiling Cat -- I think Jen is corrupting me -- I really do.

However, I suppose that none of us should be surprised that I am:

The People's Front of Judea

You scored 60 Stubborn, 59 Crazy, 36 Agressive, and 37 Evil!

I actually had a great birthday, and I thank you all for your well-wishes.

And just for Kona -- a full-on TWH. {{{OKonaO}}} *just for back-adjustment value, of course. ahem.*

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:50 PM 5 comments Links to this post  

Technically, I've Been 52 for 10 Minutes

The witching hour has passed. My mom and dad sent me a birthday card that brought me to happy tears. Several "happy returns of the day" emails have already arrived. I'm planning a low-key day tomorrow (which is unusual for me on my birthday, but I'm glad of it).

Birthdays have always been odd birds for me.

When I was a kid, we didn't have the money (nor did my parents probably have the energy) for a birthday party every year for each of the four siblings. I didn't know this until I was an adult (and didn't even notice it as a kid), but my parents "rotated" the birthday party thing among the four of us.

year, there was the birthday meal with the family (you got to pick what you wanted -- I nearly always picked corn-on-the-cob and watermelon -- and wasn't that picky about the rest), but there was only a party every fourth year (actually, every fourth year or so -- I suspect that any deviation from this pattern might have been affected by $$ on hand).

I remember my 11th birthday very well -- it was one of my party-years. I got Radio-Shack Walkie-Talkies as my "big present" (they lived in a prized shoe-box for years), and I, along with the select group of friends who were invited to the sleep-over in the big Coleman tent in the back yard that hot mid-Summer's night, scrambled through the neighborhood until sometime around 11 pm, dodging behind bushes and between buildings, clicking the "talk" button on the WTs, and whispering urgently: "I'm behind the parsonage -- Do you read me?"

As an adult, I went through a period of time where I hated my birthdays. I always seemed to want a big celebration, but I found that parties were exhausting rather than exhilirating, because I was too much of a Cancer-Cusp to fucking leave people to their own enjoyment. I spent so much time fussing over horsey-douvers and "making sure everyone was having a good time" (futile, stupid, and tiring) that I never really enjoyed the party.

On my 30th birthday, I gave up cigarettes for the first time since I'd started smoking at 15. (My partner and best friend joined me in this endeavor -- which is how I found out that it is not such a good idea to spend your birthday with two other people who are just as cranky as you are.)

Then, in my mid 30s, I discovered the joys of the nude-beach party.

This is how it goes: Hit the beach at Sauve's Island early in the morning, tell everyone where I'll be in a generalized way ("Look for us south of the bushes where all the pervs hang out"), bring all the shit that I need to enjoy the day ("Guitar? Check. Food? Check. Beverages? Check."), and leave everyone else to come and go at their leisure (or not at all), and take care of their own needs. Stay from near sunup to near sundown. Go home tired and sunburned and sated, with sand up my crack. This worked out very well for me, for a number of years.

On my 40th birthday, at said nude beach, I shaved off the hair that I'd grown down to sandy-cracked-ass-level, and went bald for about a year.

On my 50th birthday, having moved away from area of said nude beach, and lamenting lack of a such a critical commodity in my new town, my partner and friends suggested that I have a nude-beach party at our home.

We screened off our back yard entirely (thankfully, not difficult to do -- plus our neighbors to the rear at the time were both legally blind), and everyone who was invited was required to be naked thoughout the duration of the party (protection from barbecue sparks and sun/wind/rain was permitted, but body-hiding was not).

It was remarkably unremarkable (although I will say that only 11 of the 33 people invited actually attended -- not bad, really).

After the first five minutes or so, you didn't even notice that you were playing Mah-Jong in the nude. Or cooking in the nude. Or playing music in the nude. Or hugging in the nude.

It was ver' nize.

Last year, I had a dawn-to-dusk movie festival in which I showed/viewed some of my favorite films -- the schedule was posted to invited friends in advance, who dropped in throughout the day to share video goodness with me. Princess Bride, Dangerous Liaisons, Waiting for Guffman, Into the Woods, Groundhog Day, and selections from Joe vs. The Volcano and Men in Black were featured. I would have shown Magnolia, but there's only so many hours between dawn and dusk, even on Solstice. I ate my favorite food (lobster) and drank champagne.

This year, I've planned NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zero. And that feels right somehow.

A dearly beloved friend and my one true beloved Beloved will be with me all day, and if the weather holds, we will probably fire up the grill.

I might wander downtown. And I might not. I might watch a movie. And I might not. I will definitely sleep until I'm done sleeping, and pet the cat. It's nearly certain that I will drink beer. Barring a complete catastrophe, I will also have a long, hot bath.

That looks like a very good day in the making, I think.

I was born on Summer Solstice under a full moon. An auspicious, if intense, beginning.

This year, Solstice didn't fall on my birthday, so I gathered for ceremony today and ritually released what I want to be complete with, and embraced the What Next for the coming season.

I'm feeling centered, and calm, and pleasantly tired from all the work I've been doing lately. I've been slowly typing away on this entry, and now, technically, I've been 52 for one hour and ten minutes, so I'll close with this:

"I'm behind the parsonage. Do you read me?"

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:10 AM 10 comments Links to this post  

Thanks, Jen! Who Knew?

While I was fucking around tonight, waiting for a render to complete, and catching up on my blog-roll, I found the super-hero quiz, courtesy of Jen.

I'm thinking it was the lack-o-thong-wearing that put me so squarely in the man-man-man-man spectrum (Iron/Super/Spider Man, and the Green Lantern -- also probably a man) -- although that doesn't really explain why the Hulk isn't nearer to the top -- maybe I should have exaggerated about my temper a bit.

Your results:
You are Iron Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Inventor. Businessman. Genius.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

But really, in the super-hero dept., I look more like this (at least I've got the stance kinda right):

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:12 AM 2 comments Links to this post  

Seven Days Late

OK -- I've been SOOOOOOOOO busy in "real life" that I missed my own fucking blogiversary. Oh! The shame! The agony!

Trouble is, I'm STILL sooooooooo busy in "real life" that I don't have the energy to blog much of anything to celebrate my missed date.

I turn 52 on Saturday (send $ if you want to gift me), and I "got my period" today for the first time in six months (ah, the joys of peri-menopause).

So, rather than leave you with the above as a pitiful shred of a post, I'll re-print (below) my first entry ever (but only after rambling a wee bit further).

I started blogging as PortlyDyke because my comments at Shakesville were getting outrageously out of hand in terms of length. I found I simply had too much to say to confine myself to comment threads.

Blame it all on Melissa McEwan (yes, I'm looking at YOU, young lady!). I've been catching up on posts on my blog-roll every three or four days in the last weeks, but have not ventured into comments, because I still have a shitload of work on my plate. Good work. Meaningful work. Hopefully, life-changing work. But comment-threads are all too seductive to me, and I know myself well enough to just STFU and keep away from them, unless I want to be obsessively tracking threads for several days, instead of digging into my plateful.

So, the daily "news" is passing me by in some ways, and that's OK with me, for now. I know I'll be back, and I'm sending you all TWHs from here.

Here's my first post, from June 11, 2007 -- one year and seven days ago (my, how the time flies!):

I've been commenting on blog threads recently. Long comments, as is my wont.

And, Yes! I will too blog about blogging!!!

I will begin my blog by blogging about blogging!

"I'm a loner, Dotty -- a rebel."

There have been some days when this constant comment has proven the most perfect and delightful distraction for me. Others, when it has been the hair shirt I wore, complete with a lining of irate bees.

Regardless of tone and timbre, there is something in these long, chaotic conversations that fascinates me.

Comments cross-posted that ask and answer the same or different questions, creating conversational vortexes of their own.

Dialogue gone violently askew in the maelstrom of lagging ISP connections, moderation queues, and server errors.

Words dangling in limbo, divorced from the fingers that typed them, with no softening vocal inflection or quirk of eyebrow to modify their spirits-- only lone smileys and valiant punctuation marks, bravely attempting to nuance meaning.

"Why do I do it?" I sometimes wonder.

I have concurrent and paradoxical beliefs that what I type may matter immensely, and that what I type is simply another bit of throwaway byted-ness in the Abyss.

I simultaneously long for someone -- anyone -- to throw me a bone ("Good point, PortlyDyke!") and for everyone to leave me in my blissful anonymity (". . . .*the sound of silence* . . . ").

I try to wait until a comment is boiling up within me before I comment, and to say something really "meaningful", but sometimes my "wit" (yeah, right) demons intervene, possessing my hands with a fearsome energy that compels me to toss off some clueless bon-mot -- which I invariably regret.

I try to resist trolls while holding a compassionate mind-set that the person writing might simply be a) uneducated on the issue, b) a poor typist, c) dyslexic, d) tired/drunk/cranky, or e) all of the above.

Then, a certain sun rises, and I get a case of the Fuck-Its! for the entire day -- for no discernible reason -- I blast lightning from the tips of my fingers, and shoot sparks out my ass.

I have no idea what exact quality that particular sun emits. I have no way of predicting its comings or goings, or of parsing its plasma and flares.

Blogo-sphere! Quake and Be Still! Teh Portly Dyke Has Arrived and Shall Thunder Her Mightiness Upon Your Comments!

Or . . . not.
Big love to you all, and thanks for your patience --

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:30 AM 8 comments Links to this post  

Color Me Shocked

What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
You scored as a Existentialism



Divine Command


Justice (Fairness)

Strong Egoism





Posted byPortlyDyke at 8:50 AM 6 comments Links to this post  

Coming Up For Air

I'm still here, readers (well, I'm still somewhere, anyway). The work I'm doing with my (beloved and faithful) computer is such that, for many hours on end, the ONLY thing that the computer can "think" about is the project that I'm asking it to process, so blog-reading and surfing are happening in the wee small hours o' the day (if at all).

I'm happy, and healthy. All in all, the break from the internet has been expansive for me (although I do occasionally have that awful "Oh My God! I'm Missing EVERYTHING!" feeling -- but it passes -- because it's entirely inaccurate).

This just a quickie to let you know that I'm alive and kicking.

I'm sending big hugs and kisses to all my friends and well-wishers on the 'net. And here's a vid -- it's vunderbar, in that it includes two of my favorite things: Dolphins and the Song "No One is Alone" from Sondheim's Into the Woods. (And yes, the dolphins make those rings themselves -- just so they can play with them, it would seem -- gotta love a species that create their own toys just by breathing and jumping around -- as adults.)

Oh -- and here's the whole song -- seriously -- watch the whole clip -- I love this musical:

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:25 AM 4 comments Links to this post