Winds of Change (Not Hope and Change)

Nasty storm in Florida – now that’s some change coming

I ask you to picture this:

It’s 7:40 pm on a Friday night. I’m alone in my house. My pants are wet on the crotch and Barry Manilow is singing about a romantic weekend in New England – I’m on my third beer doing the dishes. Billy Joel just finished singing about how he may be crazy and my old friend, the Bard, was singing about the government and vandals taking the handles.

A puff of soap bubbles springs from the pot I’m washing to join the wet spot on my crotch.

I hope no one comes to the door. How would I explain the strange combination of soaked crotch and Barry?

Change often leaves behind a messy wake

But the funny thing is, all these songs are talking about “winds of change” and it makes me wonder why this is such a common metaphor. Why do changes always announce themselves with a brisk wind? Why don’t they appear during a stagnant, humid day? It’s those changes you need to look out for: the ones that sneak up on you. That’s why I’m always on the lookout.

It’s one thing to be poetically sitting on a park bench watching the children play. The clouds darken; the temperature drops and…a wind blows. The winds of change. That’s so dramatic and unrealistically dopey because it never happens like that – except in a song. Or when an afternoon storm does actually blow through it very rarely coincides with any dynamic, social or political adjustments (sorry Mr. Dylan). It’s just a change in the atmospheric conditions and you’re like, “Oh, I knew that was coming because the wind started.”

God Drawn in the Clouds (Jesus is fading away)

Real Life isn’t that obvious, that dramatic, that forthcoming – and Real Life doesn’t use foreshadowing. In reality, things sneak up on you when you taking care of business in the restroom. You step out and see it’s been raining for 4 hours, but you’ve only been in the bathroom for 48 seconds. How did you not notice that storm, you wonder.

When will Bob and Billy and Barry sing about that?

I’m gonna go get another beer and see what song comes on next. Ha! “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt. I didn’t see that coming.

I love shuffle.

We can all hope it ends like this though…

After the change, a nice deeply colored rainbow

Sun dogs backlight chem *ahem* vapor trails

Vapor trails for a plus sign behind the power wires

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Rebuilding Gifts for the New Civilization (Post 2012 Mayhem)

This is one of the cooler end of Earth graphics I’ve ever seen

I recently posted a question on Twitter that drew an ASTOUNDING number of responses. Zero actually, but that’s not the point. The question was:

What 5 things representative of humanity and human progress would you want preserved to help return civilization back our current state should a devastating, earth-threatening calamity strike?

Imagine that the almighty god (insert yours of choice, of course) came down to you and said, “psst, hey. Got an inside scoop for you…tomorrow…*looks left and right*…tomorrow it’s all gonna go down.”

You would naturally respond, “Why are you telling me?!”

God: “Dude, shut up and listen!

You: Jeez, you don’t have to be so rude.

God: What? My son is here?

You: *shakes head*

God: So here’s the deal. Tomorrow, big explosion around 9:14am –

You: Wait, what time zone?

God: Really? Yours obviously.

You: I’m not sure that was all that obvious, God

God: Do you really think I would give you a time and have it not be in your time zone?

You: Touché, God.

God: So as I was saying –

You: That’s standard time, right? I mean…because we just turned the clocks back.

Dog: ay eeS

No, that’s really the nightmare version of this scenario because not only do you now know that the world will end tomorrow (although not positive about the time), God has left you and you don’t really know what he was going to say to you about it…maybe an offer of some kind? Some immunity? An opportunity to dial a friend?

So let’s assume that conversation doesn’t go like that and imagine that God has strolled down from his perch from up high or upon nigh or from yonder or whatever locale he haunts and has given you information about the end of civilization AND an offer. Unfortunately that offer doesn’t save your life, but it does give civilization a chance to bounce back quickly after the mayhem and destruction has died down a bit. That’s not too bad of a deal is it? Maybe it is, but I didn’t hear you really listening and trying to negotiate with him. Is one of the rebuilding gifts negotiation skills? No, then our new civilization would be a bunch of lawyers and Major League Baseball agents – nothing would ever get done…

So what are these 5 rebuilding gifts that God has permitted us to set aside almost as a recovery time capsule? Some mix of technology and culture? Plans for a really cool septic system?  Minecraft? (But then you’d need the Xbox too…and electricity…and a TV. That’s only 4 – you’d still have one more left!) Let’s hope no one would seriously consider that.

I’d love to hear ideas (but don’t hurt yourself too much coming up with these). And no, one of them can’t be an infinity manufacturing plant where anything can be built. We don’t have one of those today. It has to be something we have today, Einstein.

Whatever we all finally decide, I think we could all agree to have some fun with our future kindred and leave some specially encrypted passage within one of the rebuilding gifts – say a book of prophecy –  which, when translated, can be deciphered by our newly recovered civilization as an end of world message about 1000 or so years into their future much like they did here.

That’ll keep them on their toes.

YvF

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I’ll Be the First to Say It: Black Holes Are Everywhere

Black Hole: courtesy of Scientific American

I’ll be the first to say it…black holes are everywhere.

What’s more, because they are everywhere, I believe black holes are the future energy source we’ve been seeking for so long.

When the Hadron Collider first came on line, one camp warned that the tremendous scale of energy the collider generated could create nanoscopic black holes that rapidly grow and consume the earth. OK…Another camp said these tiny black holes would be relatively stable, not expand, and dissipate rapidly. Others said, “People, stop mixing astrophysics with camping!”

While it is not clear whether any black holes do get generated during the high energy collisions, it is fairly clear that none with large appetites have formed…so far…unless the implosion of the earth has tossed us into a parallel dimension seamlessly and imperceptively – which I doubt.

But what if black holes are constantly being formed and dissipated at sub-atomic scales and within timescales that are beyond human observation? Then, Hawking Radiation – formed because of quantum effects at the event horizon of the black hole – would be extremely abundant. In addition, current thinking is those really tiny black holes we’re interested in called Micro Black Holes (MBH) shrink and dissipate faster, thus giving off larger amounts of energy, albeit in must shorter bursts.

And here’s another “but”: But what if these super abundant, super small bursts of energy could be captured by an energy sink that, like a template, could be laid across space-time? Infinite, free energy, that’s what!

That is the invention that I challenge you inventors to invent.

Go…why are you still here??!

OK, they’re gone…Now we can talk. For those of us too lazy or without the smarts to start thinking about that invention, I’ll continue opining: I’m aware that current thinking is that we don’t have the capabilities to generate the power needed to create a black hole. And I know you’re thinking (without any sarcasm of course), “when was the last time current thinking was wrong?” Which is my point exactly. We don’t even understand why women say they’re fine when we know they’re not, so I think there’s a small possibility some re-thinking on this could harbor some novel ideas. Especially you physicists, who obviously know nothing at all about women.

My source? Why the dog-faced magician of course!

So forget about our capabilities and think about what may already be much more abundantly present in nature and available to harness than we ever thought: yes, black holes. While I’m fairly certain that this is true and I can’t prove it to you (you’ll have to trust the dog-faced magician that told me last night), I think there is something big we will discover in this domain – even larger than the benefits of free, unlimited energy!

Scientists have lately begun to be disappointed that the Large Hadron Collider is spewing out data that they expected. While it’s really interesting to wonder if the Big Bang was just somebody else’s “Hadron Collider-like” experiment, I think it would be more fruitful to look really hard for proof of those oceans and oceans of black holes that are everywhere and figure out how to harvest their Hawking Radiation. At the same time, physicists can begin to better mesh the theories of large scale gravitation and quantum physics.

Just my two sense (sp).

YvF

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The Race Against Irrelevance

No wings?: What does a flying pig have to do with this post? Read on…

One thing I’ve learned during my nearly 2 years dabbling in social media, blogging and musical composition plus 4 plus years as a self-published author is that no one cares. My relevance among the millions of others that do what I do is exceedingly low and what’s not clear and surely the question that others have too is whether it’s the odds we’re all up against or the quality of our material that dictates this.

I’ve sold hundreds and hundreds of copies of my books, have thousands of views of my blog and tens of thousands of listens to my music. But that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t believe anyone really cares. And I don’t think I’m alone here. So what can we do about it?

  • Continue to try to break through: write that brilliant piece of literature, that tune that everyone has to hear again, craft that perfectly clever 140 character sentence that goes viral
  • Continue trying to convince others that my work is truly as good as I know it is, i.e. marketing
  • Give up (I’ve already tried that and I can’t do it)
  • Something else? Maybe just keep producing what I think is pretty good just because it’s what I do…and it’s fun

Sure, it would be nice to receive that ever so elusive “validation”, that knowledge that you are influencing others with the same interests – to win the race against irrelevance.

With age comes a natural drift that robs us of our relevance. We become less aware of popular culture, making it more difficult to identify with those younger than us, and our brains deteriorate in their ability to process the complex nature of reality and relationships. If we stay alive long enough, we are all destined to eventually achieve complete irrelevance as a drooling elderly person propped up in the corner of the room that everyone either mocks, treats rudely or just sees as an inconvenience. It’s just a matter of how fast we’re going to get there. What you do now in your moments of maximum relevance determines that.

We are but squealing pigs running down a beaten path wondering if we will ever find that pool of mud-respect that we so desire and that we so deserve. As we run we ponder if we will ever get where we’re going, yet we really have no idea where that is, do we?

Do we veer off down a less-traveled path or continue wearing down the one we are on? Maybe our path to mud-relevance will be revealed if we just keep our little piggy eyes open.

Could recognition be around the corner?

Will the gods of respect reach in and grant us the greatness we deserve?

Can the deity of relevance reveal this piggy’s path to deliverance?

Maybe when we sprout little piggy wings and learn to fly.

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Struggling with Grace

The sun struggles to burn through morning fog as the northeast continues with post-Sandy power struggles

A friend recently told me he waited in line for gas for over 5 hours in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. This was in the middle of his 13 days without power. Before I could finish voicing my sympathy he said, “It didn’t bother me…at least I had heat and the radio in the car – more than I had at home.” And he laughed.

“That’s an interesting way of looking at it,” I replied.

It’s been a struggle lately for a lot of folks in the northeast. Even the sun was struggling to burn through this morning’s thick soup of mist clinging to the ground like a wet security blanket.

But we don’t need security; nor do we need to feel safe all the time. Life is hardly either of the two. It shouldn’t be. Let us acknowledge 2 quotes:

Buddha: Life is difficult
AWOLNATION (Jump on My Shoulders): It’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why it feels so ****** good

Eastern cultures also recognize the benefits of students learning to struggle at an early age, albeit more of an intellectual rather than physical struggle.

Struggling brings about coagulation of effort and causes positive organization. It forces us to evolve and those that are unable to emerge through the struggles often die a Darwinian death of dismay, be it figuratively or literally.

There are some that struggle their whole lives, having been dealt cards that couldn’t be played successfully even by Stu Ungar. But there is no option to fold. And your cards really aren’t that bad when you think about it.

If you stick around long enough, the fog may lift. And if it doesn’t, it is up to you to pretend that it has.

As I tell my sons: a professional baseball scout doesn’t want to come to a game and watch you go 4-4. He already knows you can do that if he traveled far to see you. He wants you to fail. And he wants to see your reaction to failure. Because then he can judge your true demeanor and how well you fight and how well you struggle.

A true man struggles with grace.

YvF

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A Whole Nother Great Music Idea: TuneFly !!

I’ve decided to give away one of my best secrets. I held it in because I thought one day I would eventually have time to work on it. But I’m a realist. I don’t even have time to hang up blinds in my house. Actually, I do have time but I just never get around to it. So regardless of whether I’m a procrastinator or just super busy (is that even possible?), I will provide the details of my glorious brain-child in the hopes that somebody will run with it just because I’d love to see it implemented someday.

It’s not an idea for a novel. It’s not a massive riff that will change all of humanity; and it’s not a new way to insult my readers, although calling one a poopy-face yesterday was pretty brilliant by the way. No, it’s a whole nother* thing

*usage of the word “nother” is in homage to those in NJ suffering through the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy

OK, ready for the big secret?

It’s a new music service…

Wait!

Before you roll your eyes and succumb to flashbacks of Metallica’s drummer unleashing torrents of calmly delivered mean words aimed at Napster, hear me out.

First, I have a really cool saying and I’ve already nailed the logo. So that’s like 99% of the work right there. The rest can be ironed out by a team of programmers in Chennai within a week I’m sure.

TuneFly!: Be a fly on the wall of your favorite recording artists!

Anybody know a team of lawyers that have a few hours on their hands to deal with licensing and artists’ rights and stupid stuff like that? I really think that can be wrapped up over a couple lunch sessions. Everyone has over-complicated the whole music model over the years – I’m looking at you, dead Steve Jobs…

And once that’s taken care of, we let ‘er fly (oh! – there’s another slogan!).

Here are the details:

Become a Fly!

How would you like to not only have access to your favorite bands’ studio productions and gigs, but also:

  • žAll of their live rehearsals
  • žAll of their jam sessions
  • žAll of their writing sessions
  • žAnything else they were willing to share
ž…at your convenience or as it happens!!
…without having to worry about device space limitations
Sounds awesome, right?

Have Unprecedented Creative Access!

  • žIt’s like you’re best friends with the band!
  • žNever miss anything your favorite bands do – live or whenever you have time – with alert-based access to music, news, tweets, videos and more
  • Combines the best of iTunes, FanBridge, SoundCloud, SongKick, Spotify, Moshcam, BandDigs, and artist social networking – in an all new way
  • žBe that fly on the wall as the next greatest tunes are being created and performed

Never get swatted off the wall!

Never miss anything!!

Imagine…

  1. žYou just got an alert on your phone: Jack White is rehearsing in his home studio! Be a fly on his wall!!
  2. A link in the alert opens a mobile app or website where you can listen in and hear things that have never been recorded or heard by anyone before
  3. In the app you also have access to all of your bands and you can pick the ones to listen to now or record for later enjoyment
  4. You can also interact with other Flies on the Wall via chat, Twitter, Facebook, etc. in real “FlyTime”
For those wondering, “What’s in it for the artists?”…

Bands: How would you like to have…

  • More fans?
  • A steady revenue stream solely dependent on your output and not limited to studio productions, touring and silly promo spots that you need to travel to?
  • Total control to your fans’ access to your output
  • Those incredible rehearsal or writing moments captured for your fans’ enjoyment…and sharing with their friends

A higher level of musical access brings stronger connections to you and your brand…which brings even more fans (and higher levels of income)…and more fans…

What went wrong with the other services??

  • BandDigs failed within a year. It was promoted with a crappy “family” of bands, never caught on and focused only on video, chat, interactions, technology…and not on music and not on the service to fans
  • FanBridge is really just a portal for managing Twitter/Facebook/emails/videos that is centered around bands that already have a fanbase and trying to manage it with consistency, not around elabling an artist to produce more great art/music – not emails…it doesn’t grow a fanbase
  • SoundCloud captures the idea of making a recording and sharing it with interaction, but doesn’t capture the branding and packaging nor provide the instant alerts. Plus, putting up audio isn’t streamlined…The whole process needs to be easy and seamless to the artist or they won’t use it
  • SongKick is good for tracking bands, but is based only around concerts and knowing when your bands are touring…again, nothing intimate that grows the fanbase

So, somebody out there now has a great idea. Go run with it! Dikshit and Supraya are waiting in Bangalore for you to provide the details. All I ask for is 99.5% of the revenue (this is slightly negotiable).

What’s that you say? What about funding, launching the service and getting artists to know and agree with it?

Well, that’s a whole nother matter.

YvF
Author, musician, yellow snow-maker…and TuneFly CEO and spiritual creator

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Post “SuperStorm” Sandy Thoughts, “Genius” and an AWOLNATION Review – All Seamlessly and Cleverly Tied Together By Excellent Writing

If you stick around to read the full post, I want to claim with full transparency that I’m leaving it open to interpretation as to whether the last line is a dig at Mayor Bloomberg
*whistles and looks up and away*

No storm here…nothing to look at!

“It’s just going to be some wind and some rain, maybe a lot of either one, but nothing too crazy,” is what I thought.

Although I refused to be fooled by The Weather Channel’s meteorologists, who were as amped up as NFL analysts on Superbowl morning, I did decide to get gas, food for three days and plenty of batteries.

Up until about 7:30PM I was convinced that it was all hype – until everything went wrong…terribly wrong. That’s when the winds picked up and by 8:30 the lights were out. I was obsessively looking out the windows to see if the winds had shifted to be southerly because once that happened it would have meant the center of the storm and its fiercest winds had passed in this case. But the winds didn’t shift until much later. Not until after the ocean had crossed halfway across Staten Island, all the way across Long Beach Island and the southern part of Manhattan had flooded with salt water, inundating the subways and drowning many of the dominant rats that usually remain underground while the sub dominant rats roam up above scavenging for food. So does that mean we’ve been left with a bunch of wimpy rats in the city? That just won’t do.

But what really was Sandy? Technically, it wasn’t a hurricane nor was it a tropical storm when it came ashore. It was a post tropical “super storm” that brought hurricane force winds and category three force gusts. The winds never really shifted to the south until much later, but continued streaming onshore as the most brutal gusts were channeled into the tri-state area, launched by a nasty 40 foot ocean. Tossing tree limbs and even entire trees, the winds blew as if they were offended by the very consideration that we’d be spared widespread power outages due the weakest parts of the trees being snapped by the freak October snowstorm of exactly one year before.

While folks in Staten Island were drowning in their homes as the salt water so suddenly overwhelmed them, I was sitting by candlelight taking 30 second exposures of moving flashlights.

Jonathan Feldman is director of IT Services for a rapidly growing North Carolina city r@_jfeldman on Twitter.

Is it any surprise that less than a week after the storm, idiot IT Directors are writing articles making dumb claims about Sandy…and IT. Sorry Jon,
but the majority of New Jerseyians in huge gasoline lines recently did in fact fill up before the storm. Even large generators run out of gas after 18 hours and unfortunately they don’t run on the sheer genius fluid that emanates from your head. I’m most baffled at how you’re a Director of IT and a contributing editor for Information Week and you’re writing about how you realized running a software project without first insisting on having requirements, a business case defined and key stakeholders identified WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA? (It does kinda make more sense when I see that you work for the government though.) And by the way, from your picture it looks like those deep thoughts are pretty painful when they’re coming out.

Speaking of geniuses, I have two interesting comments on “Genius” that I got from an article on Scientific American:

(1) Geniuses can share certain potentially negative traits with the mentally ill, but when these traits are combined with specific positive attributes, the result is creativity rather than psychopathology
(2) A scientific genius has different expertise than an artistic genius, but all creative geniuses may depend on the same general process: blind variation and selective retention

My opinion is that a labeling of “genius” is just a recognition of differing (sometimes illogical) thoughts, aka creativity, that have proven to be beneficial to the general public, be it in enriching art, science or anything – it doesn’t matter. When we *ahem* When geniuses, I mean, think up topics, music, write poetry or novels, it doesn’t seem “genius” at the point of creation, but just a natural extension of thought. Typically, that natural extension of thought is deeply enmeshed within psychotic and “unnatural” thoughts indicative of mental illness and quite unnatural to regular people, aka selective retention and thinking.

Realize that these differing thoughts don’t always prove beneficial. At times, they prove to be quite the opposite which can land one in jail or a mental institution. The difference between the genius and the true lunatic is that the former knows when and how to shut down the “bad” thoughts and promote the “good” ones while the latter does not. So why can’t they? Well, because they’re crazy, that’s why!

Megalithic Symphony by AWOLNATION

And to further any thoughts of genius and apocalypse…the band AWOLNATION comes to mind. As I tweeted the other day, “Knights of Shame” is a masterpiece. The other tracks are equally intriguing and catchy. They can almost be thought of as industrial pop music that is initially slightly embarrassing to play in front of others since the choruses are at first too “poppy”. Yet the more I listened, the more I appreciated the choruses within and around the driving keyboards, guitar and at times throat-tearingly intense vocals.

There are some artists whose genius is their ability to keep the music simple and the lyrics identifiable. These lyrics seem quite gentle, reassuring, at times drawing me in with their kindness and at other times giving me reason to believe there’s quite a bit of pain behind them: “please please make the dirty preacher freeze”. But the more I listen, the more I hear enough apocalyptic-zombie-2012-religious-new order-illminati-ufo-socialist references to make me seriously wonder on what side of the genius/mentally ill side of the equation singer/songwriter Aaron Bruno falls as he repeatedly calls for his audience to “wake up” and stop “walking around with your head cut off” while refusing in interviews to discuss their meaning. But that’s how we like our artists, isn’t it? Both a genius and insane at the same time.

As I close this out I’d like to remind everyone to keep thoughts of the storm’s victims in mind and help out wherever and whenever you can.

Also remember that although only the wimpy rats survived, a rat is a rat. No need to feel sorry for them, even if they are still running New York City…

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What If You Could Just Send Your Mind to Work?

What if you could just send your mind to work?

How cool would that be: to just send your mind to work while “you” have plenty of time to do what you wanted. Let your mind toil away at work while you enjoy living your life. Sounds good, right?

That’s the premise of my 2nd novel, “Beyond 558”. Of course things go wrong as they always do in YvF stories.

Here’s an excerpt – the part where the title is explained. I’m always asked what this means…

~~~~

He would still have memories of killing – that could not be removed – but he had peace in the fact that he wasn’t really the one that executed them and that he had brought down, at least indirectly, those responsible for them. The little boy was gone and so were the others. But at the same time, he felt that, ironically, the little boy was gone from him too. The man felt like a man now.

“I guess we’ll never know why he would jump out of the window like that,” the woman began.

“There’re lots of things we can never know,” the man answered.

“What do you mean?”

The man looked at the Authority then back at the woman. “There’s this saying that the maximum number of things that can be known is 558.”

“What?” she queried, looking perplexed.

“There’s an old script of philosophy that says if you had a computer that was the size of the entire universe that ran at the speed of light and ran forever – that is, for as long as the universe has existed – that this computer could only learn 558 pieces of information, or facts.”

The woman blinked, and he continued explaining.

“You see, it learns one thing, then a second. But it has to compare this second piece of knowledge against the first to make sure there are no inconsistencies before accepting it as fact. Then, before it could accept a third piece as fact it has to compare it to the second, then the first. The first few hundred facts come quickly, in like a second with all of this super-processing power. But with each new fact, it has to go back to more and more pre-existing facts, so by the time billions and billions of years have passed, it has only accumulated 558 facts. So nobody – or no thing, even if endowed with these fantastic computing powers – can know more than 558 things. Of course, you and I know more than 558 facts. The point is, to learn things, we take shortcuts, make assumptions and fabricate facts in order to keep learning. But what we need to remember is that since we’re not checking everything 100% – we can’t – that this leaves gaps of uncertainty. We never know for sure the things that we claim to know.”

“So once we go past 558 things we’re treading on uncertain ground?”

“Well, sort of. In my eyes, we’re always on that ground. There are so many things we think we know but we just don’t have any clue.”

She nodded, looking like she sort of understood what the man was saying. Then she restated her question.“Still, I wonder why he jumped.”

Thanks for reading. And remember: smart men don’t disobey the Authority…

YvF

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A Book and Some Bucks

After Delphi by YvF: Herman Hesse meets the Matrix

I’m giving away a free, autographed book…and $10 in cold hard cash too!

It might not be a lot of money, but the book is worth way more than $10 (in my humble and completely biased opinion). So you can’t lose!!

All you have to do is re-tweet this on your Twitter account or copy and paste the bolded text below into Twitter before Halloween to enter and possibly win a signed copy of After Delphi, a speculative fiction thriller like you’ve never read before. The drawing will be held at noon on October 31st. You must copy the text exactly including the hash tags to be properly entered!:

I’m gonna win a book and ten bucks!! You can too if you RT this b4 Halloween and win!!
http://wp.me/p1kMu0-dh #AfterDelphi #FunctionalLunatic

Good luck and keep reading!!
The Functional Lunatic
YvF

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