Archive for the ‘Me Myself&I’ Category

Unraveling Race

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Unraveling Race
Thomas Chatterton Williams wants to discard traditional racial categories.

It’s an interesting point of view. I think it lacks a connection to the real, dirty world of everyday reality.

Williams understands that his path is not necessarily for everyone. “I am not so ingenuous as to think everyone can want to reconceive themselves,” he writes. “But I do believe the more people of good will—white, black, and everything in between—try, the more the rigidity of our collective faith in race will necessarily soften.”

People mostly just want to have decent, happy lives. Race —obviously as a social construct and cultural angle— will determine a lot of outcome, out of the womb.

Of course you might want to identify with the powerful ones. Which are not black (not that we can’t be powerful but with an average wealth ten to a hundred times smaller, obviously, it’s very much harder).

And your face will determine a lot, as we all know. If you look like a negro, even if your skin is #FFFFFF you won’t be treated the same in western society. This intellectualism about what you call yourself and what you identify with, becomes pointless in the day-to-day life. It’s all about what opportunities are more or less available and how it’s consistently worse for black people, every, single, time. No matter what. If you can un-identify with blackness so that you can have a decent life, considering the receipts of the past 60 years, you might want to do it. It makes sense. Weak, but it makes sense.

As a black man I am not as free to choose as I want to be. In our society that’s more of a feature than a bug. I don’t have a problem identifying as black while doing black things like designing sound, a future home, reading a lot about everything, being extremely proficient with a computer and knowing its history as well as 90s rock or 80s funk etc.

The day wealth is completely, evenly redistributed, black people will be able to not care about race at all.

Which we didn’t obsess with in the first place, to be clear.

Bicycle LA

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

‘been biking LA for ten years.

You bike without a helmet, isn’t that very dangerous?

AR-15s. Those are dangerous. Those will pulverize your body in the distance through a concrete wall, do you understand? Navy Seals training is dangerous. Landing a switch 3 flip to switch crooked grind on a handrail is some dangerous shit.

Biking is way softer than that. Most people on earth ride bicycles without a helmet, sometimes drunk while wearing flip flops. And for those who do wear a helmet here in California, well some are the wildest riders I’ve ever seen, running red lights as if they were driving a Hummer. You might have a helmet but you’re still a bunch of sticks on wheels, bro.

How do you deal with traffic, potholes etc?

You just do, memorizing them. My training comes from playing shoot’em ups when I was growing up. I’ve become pretty good at aiming, avoiding, “reading” movement and now have an acute sense of anticipation. It’s crucial. And yes, you need to know how to ride while looking behind you on both sides. It takes a little while to get good safety habits for rush hour time.

It’s also taxing. More than the physical effort, paying attention to the environment at all times is the hardest part of biking daily I think. You can (but shouldn’t) chill in your car. You can but also cannot on a bike.

Still biking the same bike?

Yup, ten years on my 1974 red Schwinn bought off Craigslist in 2009. Extremely sturdy. Built-in kickstand. Single speed. Sometimes I wish I had two that would go like “default” and “nope, not today”.

Why red?

It’s a nice, bright color. You want to be seen on a bicycle, people are not even looking at the road anymore. And it’s also red like Kaneda’s legendary vehicle and I like that. I’ll stick to red.

Aren’t drivers in LA the worst?

I think they’re fine (they feel way worse when I drive my car for sure). They’ve never done anything bad to me. But I also make sure to be gracious to them: a little peace sign when they let me go while waiting. It’s just courtesy. I’m still nothing on my bike so I make sure the four-wheels predators are chilling. No taunting or anything like that. Be fluid, don’t act as if you were a full vehicle. Don’t be that biker who doesn’t give a damn.

Maintenance?

Beside the occasional flat tire and greasing the chain once a year, not much. I just broke my brake cable and one pedal, after ten years. Bike technology is fascinating when you think about it. I mean, you have a wheel that stands on an axle that needs to be locked on one side (bike frame) and is in perpetual movement on the other side (wheel). While taking all kinds of vibrations from the road and sustaining my weight on tubes full of air. The whole thing allowing me to bike 5,000+ miles a year *for years* without changing anything. Talk about resilience.

A bicycle axle is some serious technological dope ass marvel, is all I’m saying.

Myths be bugging

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

I saw Ta-Nehisi speak and Ryan Coogler asked him why he decided to try to write fiction and he said because he realized that facts and history have short arms and can’t compete with the reach of mythologies.

Kyle a.b.

That moment struck me and that take, although I absolutely understand it, freaks me the fuck out.

Myths are false. That’s the definition. They have no weight to me. Yet they’re powerful enough to start some reasoning for some people and make them believe something. More than reality.

Knowing that we need to stick to the realms of reality because the reality is that we’re fucking up our planet at an unprecedented rate, mythology being “hip” is I think, not a good thing.

As societies evolved, we’ve made progress despite myths, not thanks to them. Considering the future, feeding myths to a young crowd that has to deal with adults lying, pictures and videos being fake, deep fake, photoshop’d, people pretending being someone they aren’t on social media 24/7 while watching crossovers of actual, real history (Black Wall Street) laced with fiction (Watchmen), is some crazy ass shit. Seriously.

Those kids will not believe anything ever happened for real. I wouldn’t be surprised, with the level of BS floating online (and the impossible task of deciphering it) if kids born in 2019 don’t believe that WWII happened and was horrifying. They’ll downplay it and think it was like the movie Starship Troopers or the game Call of Duty. Brutal, but kind of fun.

I don’t like fiction like that. It’s just dangerous and kind of unconscious to make it super serious.

If facts and history have short arms, let’s not give myths longer ones. It’s not going to help at all.

One line

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

A challenging month, that’s what that was.

Word, Prince

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

A few days with Prince’s ghostwriter and his client before the artist passed away.

Prince, you’re right. We have to own our things. And create.

You’d be surprised that I wrote my own memoir lacing music, technology and my intersectional life all in one, in my second language, English. An Englishman (white) and an English professor (black) told me it was good writing, if not really great.

I also wrote and produced 100+ songs and tracks. Videos. Thousands of sound effects. Thousands of blog posts. I coded a couple games.

I also play bass like Sonny T (that is, play bass guitar like a guitar, too).

I did it all 99% by myself. I own all that stuff.

It ain’t over brother P. Thanks again for the inspiration.

Alec Holowka

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Man.

I started following Infinite Ammo way back in 2004-2005 or something? Two guys making a “console” game straight for Windows and PCs? And the game is called Aquaria and allows you to play a mermaid in a Ecco the Dolphin type of game? I was interested and excited.

At that time RSS and bookmarks were the only way to connect with someone. Alec seemed amazing. Coder, designer and composer. I didn’t have issues to understand that he was constantly working. You have to when you do those three things well. Which he did.

I think he –or the folks around him- launched the pajama jam where you jam on your favorite instrument after waking up. I participated.

I wanted to connect with Alec and those awesome independent game developers because they looked like they were “getting it”. That is, doing things I would love to do and polish and polish more.

Making good games. Selling them well. Staying independent. This looked like was I exactly wanted to do.

Alec never left success, basically. From Aquaria to now –12 years– he seemed destined to always be in the light. Always working on not necessarily the hottest games, but always *good* games or prototypes. It’s pretty hard AF to do.

We started to follow each other somewhere in 2007 on Twitter. This is where Twitter was amazing and an actual social network. Everyday for the next decade and more, I would read his tweets and he might have read some of mine.

I could tell sometimes that he had a dark side. But most people do AND he lived in Canada, the country with at least 6 months of winter. So I didn’t see anything wrong. I remember being in the room during an indie game conference –Horizon Conference back in 2014– where he was showing up Night in the Woods. He was funny. A classic, chill nerd. I briefly exchanged a few words with him in a semi star-struck vibe.

I was super happy for Alec and his team when Night in the Woods, finally came out to a torrent of accolades and commercial success. It looked like that game could have destroyed everything. 5 hard years of work, Kickstarter and everything, I wasn’t sure this would pan out well. But it did and I guess he did some pretty great work on it.

This week was insane. I had no doubt he would seek to commit suicide after the news broke out.

So it’s a mix of Fuck This World, Fuck Him, Thank you for the Games, Why can’t we break abuse loops, Why Video Games Anyway?

It’s just hard. I’m sorry for everyone involved closely with his life. May y’all reach peace.

Blog dad

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

I’ve been following a blog for fifteen years. The dude has a  kid. Had a kid. The kid is grown up and just moved out of the house to go to college.

I read so many stories, their relationship. In real time, basically. RSS is the best thing ever.

It’s a new chapter for them.

I love long term things. I had followed that blog for some computer game stuff in 2004 and ended up giggling at family stories, weather updates and whatnot for all those years. Some good people.

And like them, I’m a little sad. It’s beautiful though. I’m glad he’s sharing a part of his life.

To the next hundred years.

Bracing myself

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

I’m reading books about music. James Brown is mentioned. I’m torned by this mf. He came from absolutely nothing, changed how popular music was thought, had a private jet in the 50s. But he raped, assaulted and fucked over so many people.

Just yesterday, some big names in game development fell to sexual abuses claims. People I had been following for most of my career. People both younger and older that I am. People that I didn’t expect to do that at all. But like, not at all.

Earlier this week Paul fucking Mooney fell. He apparently molested Richard Pryor’s son in the 70s. What the actual fuck. I cherished that man. Gave his autobiography to a young brother I love because it was a good book. I wanted to inspire him.

It’s like a vast amount of men I looked up to, from my childhood to now are/were twisted fucks.

I don’t know how to explain how it feels like.

Needs

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

"Well you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing, man.
Take a look at my cousin, he’s broke, don’t do shit."
– Lawrence

I think about Mark Zuckerberg. He’s a billionaire. Most people don’t like him. Most people who would say they do only think about what kind of checks he can write them.

He can’t trust no one. Absolutely no one.

He can’t be in public anymore, ever again. What he can do to relax is sit in his living room, fixing some furniture for his family.

Yes, he can travel anywhere in the world. To sit somewhere, not doing anything, maybe just read.

My favorite homeless couple just sits there reading books and listening to music too.

You don’t need to be that wealthy to feel fine. And it’s so bizarre and liberating to think about that.

Dan Nocera

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

I watched his talk years ago. I was so impressed by the elegance of his team’s solution to sustainable energy. He’s also hilarious.

Then he disappeared. Or I couldn’t remember his name and look at what he was doing. EITHER WAY.

I found his ass again. His motto, basically:

Solar energy has the potential to scale up to meet long-term energy demands. He emphasizes that scientists must consider the economics of the materials they propose to use for energy sources and for storage technologies, if they are to develop viable energy alternatives.

So I was thinking, “Dan’s got it. We will reach complete sustainable energy autonomy at some point!!”

And then, he showed up with something amazing, the Artificial Leaf:

Like conventional photovoltaics, the artificial leaf used common semiconducting materials (in this case, amorphous silicon) to absorb sunlight and emit electrons. But then it went one step further. When dipped into a beaker of water, instead of producing electricity, the leaf harnessed the electrons to break the chemical bonds of water and release hydrogen gas — a fuel that can store energy at a significantly higher density and lower cost than electricity.

In 2009, Nocera formed Sun Catalytix, a startup to develop a prototype design for a system to convert sunlight into storable hydrogen which could be used to produce electricity.

And I’m like “fuck yeah it’s on!” But then it is not on:

However, in May 2012, Sun Catalytix stated that it would not be scaling up the prototype.

Fffffffuuuuuuu but then:

In hopes of developing a product that could be more rapidly brought to market, Sun Catalytix refocused its business model on developing a low-cost rechargeable flow battery for use in grid-scale and commercial-scale storage.

Me: this is it! It’s happening! Nocera’s company:

In 2014, Sun Catalytix was acquired by Lockheed Martin, because it was interested in using the flow battery.

Daaaaaamn Dan, can we, citizen peasants have access to tech that changes the world? Not emojis or photo filters, actual, real shit that saves the earth and us with it? Lockheed Martin is 30mn away in Burbank, Imma go knock at the door. “hi, I’m here for the batteries and fuel cells?”

Jokes aside, this technology is one of the holy grail of a sustainable future and it just got bought by a private, defense-focused company… Mr. Nocera, I really hope you bring this to production and to the world. We need your stuff.