Monday, February 03, 2020

New Years

2018 ended.

2019 began.

2019 ended.

2020 began.

2019 was the fastest year, the most complicated year, the most jam packed year of living. I should have known from the beginning it would be so complicated.

2018 ended in bed, in the arms of the Gambler, in happy moments of stolen amusement before a show that would easily not end before midnight. Happy and amused, I dragged us across town for the end of year show, maybe the end of the world show.

The beginning of 2019 heralded great strife.

I left my phone with security when we got to the venue. I had to go back for it, amused. At least I knew it was in good hands.

Together the gambler and I greeted the friends in the band that we knew we would soon see on stage. We had come for the Mucca Pazza show, the Chicago marching band, who were closing out the old year and opening the new with marching band music. Mucca Pazza is a collection of all the old marching band members who liked playing then and want to continue playing now. Like the marching band of my youth, the modern day grown ups are much the same. Gender non-conforming, queer, high, silly, goofy, misanthropes and misfits and the color guard, not quite cheerleaders, probably all a bunch of lesbians and gays and non-off us caring a goddamn wit. Modern day me remembers Ancient Marching band me, and this is on par. Mucca Pazza is the marching band grown up, grown out, grown loud and grown proud.

We stand on a rail to watch and Chicago floods in. The horns blare the drummers keep up the pace, the color guard encourages our laughs and our cheers and our uncoordinated dancing. We give them every letter they want to spell out naught words and chant phrases of power that only those who have spent a life living on the counter of norm culture, who have become adults participating in norm culture, and adult who still secretly live their lives underground, we cheer for who we are all together and unashamed because what other kinds of people would start the year at with an alternative Marching Band.

I kissed the Gambler at midnight at the close of 2018 and the start of 2019 and new I was going to be in for a hell of a year.

2019 did not disappoint.

The end of the year, was as frenetic as the beginning. I ran, hand in hand through a sea of humanity to celebrate with fire and sparkles and a city exploding for my entertainment.

There are so many stories that should be told, so many stories being made, the years ending and beginning in wildness and joy and becoming precedents for the years to follow.

Same Old Me

It is a new year.

It is now 2020.

These words are being communicated through the electronic box I use to do all my communication. For work, for play, for pleasure, my life is the glowing lights and the keyboard.

I type over 200 words a minute.

It is 2020.

Later today I will use a small device that is a miniature version of this one to read a book, to watch the news, to listen to music, to check on transit information, and make a decision about whether I want to order a car, order dinner, or take a bus somewhere new.

This morning I have used the magic boxes and lit screens to remember moments of my past I had forgotten.

Good moments.

Somewhere, in a database warehouse in a dark room, this person exists. The words that balance and dangle on light fliting across an accessible world floating through the air, waiting to be received, accepted, read, this is all real. The construct of this piece of work, dairy, journal, uploading the core of who I am, all of this is now a data point.

A million little characters of a data point.

The dynamic capture of information here is wild, human, frail and frayed.

This data log in 2020 is enough to recreate enough of me to analyze me, to break me down to try to understand my right from wrong thoughts, and my good from bad thoughts.

Yet, because this is utterly human, the digital channels we use to parse the data fall flat, subtly is not understood. My fear and my utter laise faire attitude about all the happenings at the same time are impossible to render. Contridictions.

This catalog of data is a collection of contridictions and change.

A life experienced and forgotten by the soft mushy brain bag that also has all this same data.

An algorithm may some day be able to recreate from all the pieces here something that is like a construct of me. It's 2020. That algorithm could exist tomorrow if anyone cared to build it.

It would be flawed and not be me.

But still I live in 2020, and I must deal with the reality that I know this. That I have read the history of the future and I understand how all these data points lead eventually to manipulation and control. Sharing, and openness and honesty are a terrifying albatross that might pit anyone one person against the algorithms that are being built to tell us what kind of good person we should be.

I live in a generation that has never seen Demolition Man, which is hilarious to me as I watch how we push and push and push for a safer society through technology. There is a generation that gets a waterdowned versions of the important messages they should be taking from P. Dick, or I. Asmov, or F. Herbert, or J. Tiptree, or J. Vance, many names....the joymaker belongs to Pohl and I shall be forever greatful to understand the Age of the Pussyfoot is also the age we live in.

With influencers and credits and units and expectations of how much easier and better it all is while watching the moral and social society that exists outside of our electronics burn to the ground.

Because technology is making it all better.

Because technology is making it all worse.

And in the meantime, technology is recreating me from the digital pixels my life occupied in the ether. I have not been able to find a way to come to peace with it, but I also know it is important to continue.

For whatever value this has to me, in 2020, it may have more to me in 2030, should we figure out how to make it another 10 years without letting ourselves, and our frailty and our humanity destroy it all.

Should that destruction happen, I know, I will have had this.

And in 2020, real records still matter, no matter how flawed the human those records reflect.

It's a new year. The last was magical, and barely captured in words. This year, I think I want to remember completely. And while I do that, I want to capture that past as it has become to me. And for the future me, the projection of me, the experiment of me, the footprint of me, the placeholder I might become flesh or electronic. This is important too.

Someday I may be judged by this record, and I'm horrified and amused. Such a quandary to try to judge such a life as mine.

It's a new year.

It's the same old me.

Sunny Dog Day Walk

We strapped in and prepared for a good mile walk. The day was the right mix of gloomy grey cloudy and cool almost autumn now breeze. The small dogs, once over the shock of their harnesses, were ready to go.

These are long walks in Chicago.

We stop often. People want to talk to us, I want to talk to know one. I want to be in the moment. I want to be out of the moment. I want to bond with these tiny dogs. I want to watch the adulation as we pass by.

There is nothing and noone on the streets as we walk. We stop. We practice. We train. We are together and complete with each other. They are my walking armor guard, and I am their captain.

After the long walk south along Sheridan we decided to take the bus back. The dogs were tired and exhausted as I wanted them to be. I was feeling wound down, happy, tired, accomplished. Sometimes walking to relax is really the most important thing you can do.

Sometimes you just need to go for a walk.