JUNE 2003


(Thursday, 4 June 1998)

Funny, this past week in Vancouver I found myself several times mentioning Nokia's history of recasting/reinventing itself.

Nokia: The Chameleon of Tech

Considering the Immortal Effects of Our Actions

(In transit reading on Air Transat)

"It was my fault, she sobbed, and it was true, no one could deny it, but it is also true, if this brings her any consolation, that if, before every action, we were to begin by weighing up the consequences, thinking about them in earnest, first the immediate consequences, then the probable, then the possible, then the imaginable ones, we should never move beyond the point where our first thought brought us to a halt. The good and evil resulting from our words and deeds go on apportioning themselves, one assumes in a reasonably uniform and balanced way, throughout all the days to follow, including those endless days, when we shall not be here to find out, to congratulate ourselves or ask for pardon, indeed there are those who claim that this is the much-talked-of immortality."

José Saramago, Blindness.


(Friday, 5 June 1998)

Metadata: informationalized information (information about information). My favorite example of the overuse misuse of such information: the signage at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Pity that we didn't make it to the aquarium this trip (and use the guest passes that Guy and Jane gave us).)

Terry Starr, Raven Dancer, 1990.

Arrived back in Rotterdam after twelve whirlwind days in glorious Vancouver. (The point of our visit? To show the one I love the city that I love.) First impression upon arriving home: "Come on... who's kidding who? Rotterdam is a third world city."


(Saturday, 6 June 1998)

Joined a new gym today. This one much closer to the house and with a much better swimming pool. (I am heeding the message received during my last ayahuasca session: "Swimming cools the body and dissipates excess heat. You must swim more.")


Wading through the pile of physical post I discover two gifts:

A mix of Indian music assembled by Dirk Hine.

One of 319 t-shirts printed by XS4ALL (former Dutch hacker organization turned ISP) to celebrate their 10th anniversary.


(Sunday, 7 June 1998)

Re: the Quatremère de Quincy quote of 5 years ago. Methinks today that there is nothing wrong with "attending our own funeral while we are alive."

Cool Toys

Note concerning the difference between practice and pastime. Passing time is not practicing waiting. (Jalal Toufic writes: "In waiting, time is for the most part not mine but others'" and a few lines later, "What happens if we all waited at the same time? If there were no other sentient beings, time would no longer progress at all: it would be the end of time.")

A great gadget weblog:

A review of Konami's DigiQ tanks cool toys found via gizmodo.

Warchalking ("Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking.")

I became aware of the practice of warchalking a couple of weeks ago while researching free 802.11 access points in Vancouver.

Free wireless access points in Rotterdam: on the Stieltjesstraat and around the Westplein (incl. Café Loos).


(Monday, 8 June 1998)

Heh, never did pick up that book ("Simple Rules for a Complex World"). By the time it arrived my attention had moved on.


The final project of graduating Rietveld Academie student Henk Jan Bouwmeester was to create a site for all the persons named John Green he could find (living or deceased) and then allow those not lucky enough to be named John Green to "adopt" one.

For reasons of my own I'm interested in this sort of work.


(Thursday, 11 June 1998)

Hilfe. There are obvious connections between today's attention and today's attention five years ago! (Quoted then: "Let's look at some the ways to find the right corpse.")

Proper Name Stumbling Block

Following a reference to 'The Green Man' by Bhikku and my own memories of a mystical road trip to California in the seventies that resulted in my both falling in love and having my first 'near-death experience' -- I googled for The Green Man - Sufi connection and came across this paper (The Sufi Basis of The Taming of the Shrew) thus stumbling across yet another Shakespeare was not Shakespeare but Francis Bacon site (Summary of Baconian Evidence for Shakespeare Authorship).

For more on this, see the Shakespeare Authorship Information Center.

And last November's Alamut entry on allonyms with its link to The Shakespeare Allonym.

(Watched Donnie Darko this evening. Excellent. The film's time branching escape-from-and-then-meeting-death (Donnie's 'fear'?) reminded me of Maugham's Appointment in Samarra (for a link between Samarra and the Nosferatu story see Alamut: 17 November 2001).

FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2003

(Saturday, 13 June 1998)

Possible Worlds

Reading W. B. Bartlett's Assassins: The Story of Medieval Islam's Secret Sect (2001).

Compiled a rough bibliography of Alamut History (it seems some books have been republished since 9/11).

Browsing Anthony Campbell's online book The Assassins of Alamut I came across this surprising piece of conjecture:

Another echo of Ismailism can be found in the life of the great Sufi mystic and poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi. He had an extraordinary mystical relationship with a man called Shams-i-Tabriz, who is described as a weird figure wrapped in a a coarse felt blanket. He was more or less illiterate, but possessed of exceptional spiritual authority. He believed himself to be the mouthpiece of God - to be, in fact, divine. He was devoted to poverty, and wandered continually. So great was his influence on Rumi that the poet's followers finally had him murdered, but Rumi's most famous poetry, written subsequently, continued to be inspired by a sense of mystical identity with Shams.

According to E.G. Browne (A Literary History of Persia, v. 2, p. 516), Shams-i-Tabriz was said to have been a son of Hasan III of Alamut. This story, if true, links the spiritual legacy of the Nizaris with one of the most important mystical poets to have written in Persian - indeed, one of the foremost mystical poets in world literature.


(Sunday, 14 June 1998)

There will be data. There will be many.

  1. a shrewdness of apes
  2. a flange of baboons
  3. a thought of barons
  4. a dissimulation of birds
  5. an obstinacy of buffalo
  6. a rainbow of butterflies
  7. a destruction of cats

Etc, etc.

From a list of collective nouns on the Wikipedia.

SUNDAY, 15 JUNE 2003

(Monday, 15 June 1998)

Help Wanted

I'm becoming more and more frustrated with my current content management system (Radio/Frontier) and am considering migrating to a MySQL based (or similar) knowledge management system. Does anyone have any advice for me? I'm looking for a "permanent solution", something that I can depend on, something that I can grow with...

Please note I'm not only looking for a weblog management system but for a complete system to manage my various databases (books, films, games) and project notebooks. I envision a personal 'everything2-like' database of objects (people, places, things and ideas/memes) and their associations.

Follow Up

A Persian saying: "A jewel that never leaves the mind never acquires polish."

  1. An amusement: Googlewhacking.

  2. Considering my recurring interest in clever rule amending systems like Nomic and clever time branching games like 'Time Agent' (where as they say "the object of the game is to win. You win by always having been the winner when time travel is uninvented." ) I've been thinking about buying a copy of Looney Lab's Chrononauts.

    The designer on Creating Chrononauts.

  3. I wonder what an Alamut Nomic would look like? Or what, for that matter, an Alamut Dvorak game would look like?

  4. A famous fictitious case to illustrate various philosophies of law:

    The Case of the Speluncian Explorers (A web reprint of Lon Fuller's 1949 Harvard Law Review Article) and Peter Suber's Nine New Opinions book.

    (Suber's Preface and Introduction and the Amazon link.)

MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2003

(Tuesday, 16 June 1998)

With stomaches stuffed with roti-wrapped salad and Ben and Jerry's ice cream (Caramel Chew Chew) we watched Quebecois filmmaker Robert Lepage's Possible Worlds (2000) last night. A brave attempt, I imagined, at illustrating Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum reality...

What? Googlewhacking Lepage + "Possible Worlds" + Everett + "many worlds" turns up no link...

Encyclopedia Alamut

Re: yesterday's 'Help Wanted'. I'm thinking about the value of a personal encyclopedia -- the organization of an eclectic body of interests, research topics and associations in a non-redundant and accessable form.

Need to spend more time looking at the Wikipedia.


(Wednesday, 17 June 1998)

It was a year ago today that N. and I hiked up Cerro Uritorco. I miss Argentina.


(Thursday, 18 June 1998)

Suzanne Briet, aka "Madame Documentation", 1894-1989.

In 1951 Briet published a "remarkable modernist manifesto on the nature of documentation": Qu'est-ce que la documentation? (english translation).

(via Heidi Ganshaw)


(Friday, 19 June 1998)

Tine Melzer: The Complete Dictionary (2003)

Saw this work today... 26 beautifully bound volumes each numbering 1,600 pages... unfortunately the website is still under development...

"The Complete Dictionary includes all the possible words up to six letters. It contains every meaningful word and all vacant letter-combinations based on a formula designed to generate pronounceable words."


(Sunday, 21 June 1998)

Still researching time travel games...

The rules to Timeline, a 4-dimensional chess variant (with the move history of the pieces as a sort of 5th dimension!) designed and produced by George Marino.

A review of Timeline by Steffan O'Sullivan.


(Wednesday, 24 June 1998)

In My Opinion

Watched Clive Donner's adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.

Like The Servant directed by Joseph Losey, it's good, but not as good as I would have hoped.

Interestingly Pinter was Somerset Maugham's nephew. Interestingly too, The Servant (screenplay by Pinter) and The Caretaker were both released in 1963 (a good year for Pinter?).


(Friday, 26 June 1998)

Design patterns. I love them.'s Game Design Wiki is collecting pattern-like structures (Good Ideas) as a first step in formulating a "full blown" pattern language for games.

Repeat After Me

Read two short Beckett plays, both of which involve or require some form of repetition: Play (1963) and Nacht und Träume (1982).


(Sunday, 28 June 1998)

The Urgent

Following a line of thought which emerged in an interview conducted at the Rijksacademie last week and considering the proximity of several friends with cancer I've been thinking about my feelings concerning friendship and death (it seems that death for Heidegger meant "my death", whereas death for Levinas meant "death of the other").

Researching Levinas on this subject I stumbled across this surprising paper concerning Blanchot's essay on 'Friendship'. It's a PDF file but in my opinion well worth the download.

Lars Iver, Born with the Dead. Blanchot, Friendship, Community.

For Blanchot, friendship "passes by way of the recognition of the common strangeness that does not allow us to speak of our friends but only to speak to them."

Also of interest -- considering Blanchot's view of the 'impossiblity' of the obituary -- the Guardian's obituary of Blanchot. Maurice Blanchot, Friendship.

SUNDAY, 29 JUNE 2003

(Monday, 29 June 1998)

Re: Risk. Funny to read this 5 year old entry. Rates are lower than ever. A week ago I re-negotiated my mortgage at 3.8% for 3 years.

Here is another paper which provides a good overview of the 'destabilized self' from various existential perspectives (Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas):

Anthony Macri Jr., The Otherness of Selfhood: Levinas and Existential Inquiry (PDF).


Wishing to buy a book today by Levinas and finding nothing in the bookstore in english I ended up buying Stephen Mulhall's Guidebook to Heidegger and Being and Time which I started immediately. It's certainly helpful but if I had checked online before purchasing I would have probably opted for one or both of these books instead:

Michael Gelven, A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time (better?)

Hubert Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time (best?)

MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2003

(Tuesday, 30 June 1998)

Scrolling back a bit through June 1998 it's reassuring to find at least a few recurring elements. It was 5 years ago this month that Jouke and I began our discussion on the 'artist's estate', an interest which he has returned to in recent months and which we ourselves returned to during our telephone conversation Sunday when we began talking about our various database desires.

An interview with Gus van Sant on the making of 'Gerry' (2002).

More 'Being and Time'. Borrowed Lance St. John Butler's study Samuel Beckett and the Meaning of Being from the library.

May 2003

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